UreG is a P-loop GTP hydrolase involved in the maturation of nickel-containing urease, an essential enzyme found in plants, fungi, bacteria, and archaea. This protein couples the hydrolysis of GTP to the delivery of Ni(II) into the active site of apo-urease, interacting with other urease chaperones in a multi-protein complex necessary for enzyme activation. Whereas the conformation of Helicobacter pylori (Hp) UreG was solved by crystallography when it is in complex with two other chaperones, in solution the protein was found in a disordered and flexible form, defining it as an intrinsically disordered enzyme and indicating that the well-folded structure found in the crystal state does not fully reflect the behavior of the protein in solution. Here, isothermal titration calorimetry and site-directed spin labeling coupled to electron paramagnetic spectroscopy were successfully combined to investigate HpUreG structural dynamics in solution and the effect of Ni(II) and GTP on protein mobility. The results demonstrate that, although the protein maintains a flexible behavior in the metal and nucleotide bound forms, concomitant addition of Ni(II) and GTP exerts a structural change through the crosstalk of different protein regions.
Keywords: EPR spectroscopy; intrinsically disordered proteins; isothermal titration calorimetry; protein structural dynamics; protein-ligand interaction; site-directed spin labeling.