Intracellular CuI is controlled by the transcriptional regulator CueR, which effectively discriminates between monovalent and divalent metal ions. It is intriguing that HgII does not activate transcription, as bis-thiolate metal sites exhibit high affinity for HgII. Here the binding of HgII to CueR and a truncated variant, ΔC7-CueR, without the last 7 amino acids at the C-terminus including a conserved CCHH motif is explored. ESI-MS demonstrates that up to two HgII bind to CueR, while ΔC7-CueR accommodates only one HgII. 199mHg PAC and UV absorption spectroscopy indicate HgS2 structure at both the functional and the CCHH metal site. However, at sub-equimolar concentrations of HgII at pH 8.0, the metal binding site displays an equilibrium between HgS2 and HgS3, involving cysteines from both sites. We hypothesize that the C-terminal CCHH motif provides auxiliary ligands that coordinate to HgII and thereby prevents activation of transcription.
- CueR metalloregulatory protein
- coordination modes
- metal ion selectivity
- perturbed angular correlation (PAC) spectroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry