The membrane-located osmosensory kinase, EnvZ, that contains a leucine zipper-like motif functions as a dimer in Escherichia coli

FEBS Lett. 1997 Nov 17;417(3):409-13. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(97)01329-x.


The Escherichia coli EnvZ protein is a membrane-located osmosensor, which is a typical member of histidine kinases involved in His-Asp phosphotransfer signaling. We found that EnvZ has a leucine zipper-like motif in its presumed periplasmic domain. The functional importance of this leucine zipper-like sequence was assessed by introducing a number of appropriate amino acid substitutions. The results collectively suggest that certain leucine residues in the leucine zipper-like structure play an important role in the osmotic signal transduction mediated by EnvZ. When cysteine was substituted for the crucial leucine residues, the EnvZ dimer with disulfide bridge was detected in the cytoplasmic membrane. It was thus demonstrated that the EnvZ osmosensor exists and exerts its signaling ability as a dimer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Dimerization
  • Dithiothreitol / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Kinetics
  • Leucine Zippers*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multienzyme Complexes*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • envZ protein, E coli
  • Dithiothreitol