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Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry


Nickel-dependent ureases are activated by a multiprotein complex that includes the GTPase UreG. Prior studies showed that nucleotide-free UreG from Klebsiella aerogenes is monomeric and binds one nickel or zinc ion with near-equivalent affinity using an undefined binding site, whereas nucleotide-free UreG from Helicobacter pylori selectively binds one zinc ion per dimer via a universally conserved Cys-Pro-His motif in each protomer. Iodoacetamide-treated K. aerogenes UreG was nearly unaffected in nickel binding compared to non-treated sample, suggesting the absence of thiolate ligands to the metal. X-ray absorption spectroscopy of nickel-bound UreG showed the metal possessed four-coordinate geometry with all O/N donor ligands including one imidazole, thus confirming the absence of thiolate ligation. The nickel site in Strep-tag II-modified protein possessed six-coordinate geometry, again with all O/N donor ligands, but now including two or three imidazoles. An identical site was noted for the Strep-tag II-modified H74A variant, substituted in the Cys-Pro-His motif, ruling out coordination by this His residue. These results are consistent with metal binding to both His6 and a His residue of the fusion peptide in Strep-tagged K. aerogenes UreG. We conclude that the nickel- and zinc-binding site in nucleotide-free K. aerogenes UreG is distinct from that of nucleotide-free H. pylori UreG and does not involve the Cys-Pro-His motif. Further, we show the Strep-tag II can perturb metal coordination of this protein.

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