Biochemistry, Department of


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Bioscience Reports (2016) 36, e00413, doi:10.1042/BSR20160435.


Copyright 2016 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence 4.0 (CC BY). Used by permission.


Proline utilization A (PutA) is a bifunctional flavoenzyme with proline dehydrogenase (PRODH) and Δ1-pyrroline-5- carboxylate (P5C) dehydrogenase (P5CDH) domains that catalyses the two-step oxidation of proline to glutamate. Trifunctional PutAs also have an N-terminal ribbon–helix–helix (RHH) DNA-binding domain and moonlight as autogenous transcriptional repressors of the put regulon. A unique property of trifunctional PutA is the ability to switch functions from DNA-bound repressor to membrane-associated enzyme in response to cellular nutritional needs and proline availability. In the present study, we attempt to construct a trifunctional PutA by fusing the RHH domain of Escherichia coli PutA (EcRHH) to the bifunctional Rhodobacter capsulatus PutA (RcPutA) in order to explore the modular design of functional switching in trifunctional PutAs. The EcRHH–RcPutA chimaera retains the catalytic properties of RcPutA while acquiring the oligomeric state, quaternary structure and DNA-binding properties of EcPutA. Furthermore, the EcRHH–RcPutA chimaera exhibits proline-induced lipid association, which is a fundamental characteristic of functional switching. Unexpectedly, RcPutA lipid binding is also activated by proline, which shows for the first time that bifunctional PutAs exhibit a limited form of functional switching. Altogether, these results suggest that the C-terminal domain (CTD), which is conserved by trifunctional PutAs and certain bifunctional PutAs, is essential for functional switching in trifunctional PutAs.