Conformational plasticity is crucial for C3-RhoA complex formation by ARTT-loop

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ADP-ribosylation is an important post-translational protein modification catalyzed by bacterial toxins and eukaryotic endogenous ADP-ribosyltransferases. Bacterial binary toxins and C3-like toxins recognize and ADP-ribosylate actin Arg177 and RhoA Asn41, respectively. Structural and mutational studies have identified an ADP-ribosylating turn–turn loop (ARTT-loop) that has been implicated in substrate specificity and recognition, although it has not been verified. Recently, we determined the crystal structure of the C3 exoenzyme-RhoA complex. The complex structure shows how C3 recognizes Rho GTPase and provides the first structural evidence for RhoA recognition by the ARTT-loop. The complex formation mediated by the ARTT-loop is through the intrinsic plasticity of C3 and RhoA. C3 changes the conformations of both the phosphate nicotinamide-loop and the ARTT-loop by NAD+ and RhoA binding, respectively. In contrast, RhoA changes the conformations of switch I and II regions upon C3 binding with a particular conformation, irrespective of the bound nucleotide (GTP or GDP).

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