Structure and Protein-Protein Interaction Studies on Chlamydia trachomatis Protein CT670 (YscO Homolog)
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Comparative genomic studies have identified many proteins that are found only in various Chlamydiae species and exhibit no significant sequence similarity to any protein in organisms that do not belong to this group. The CT670 protein of Chlamydia trachomatis is one of the proteins whose genes are in one of the type III secretion gene clusters but whose cellular functions are not known. CT670 shares several characteristics with the YscO protein of Yersinia pestis, including the neighboring genes, size, charge, and secondary structure, but the structures and/or functions of these proteins remain to be determined. Although a BLAST search with CT670 did not identify YscO as a related protein, our analysis indicated that these two proteins exhibit significant sequence similarity. In this paper, we report that the CT670 crystal, solved at a resolution of 2 A, consists of a single coiled coil containing just two long helices. Gel filtration and analytical ultracentrifugation studies showed that in solution CT670 exists in both monomeric and dimeric forms and that the monomer predominates at lower protein concentrations. We examined the interaction of CT670 with many type III secretion system-related proteins (viz., CT091, CT665, CT666, CT667, CT668, CT669, CT671, CT672, and CT673) by performing bacterial two-hybrid assays. In these experiments, CT670 was found to interact only with the CT671 protein (YscP homolog), whose gene is immediately downstream of ct670. A specific interaction between CT670 and CT671 was also observed when affinity chromatography pull-down experiments were performed. These results suggest that CT670 and CT671 are putative homologs of the YcoO and YscP proteins, respectively, and that they likely form a chaperone-effector pair.
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