pH Effect on the Structure of Reduced NifU-like Protein from Helicobacter pylori Lee, Ki-Young; Kim, Ji-Hun; Bae, Ye-Ji; Lee, Bong-Jin;
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) survives in acidic and fluctuating pH conditions of the stomach. The pH effect on H. pylori proteins is important for the advanced understanding of its evolution and viability, although this bacterium has the molecular machinery that neutralizes the acidic condition. HP1492 is known as a conserved NifU-like protein from H. pylori. NifU is a nitrogen fixation protein that mediates the transfer of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster to iron-sulfur proteins like ferredoxin. Commonly, the monomeric reduced state of NifU can be converted to the dimeric oxidized state by intermolecular disulfide bond formation. Because it remains unclear that HP1492 actually behaves as known NifU protein, we first found that this protein can adopt both oxidized and reduced forms using size exclusion chromatography. Circular dichroism experiment showed that HP1492 is relatively well-structured at pH 6.5, compared to other pH conditions. On the basis of the backbone resonance assignment of HP1492, we further characterized the residues that are sensitive to pH using NMR spectroscopy. These residues showing large chemical shift changes could be mapped onto the secondary structure of the protein. Our results could provide the foundation for structural and biophysical studies on a wide spectrum of NifU proteins.