Structural characterization reveals that a PilZ domain protein undergoes substantial conformational change upon binding to cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate



PA4608 is a single PilZ domain protein from Pseudomonas aeruginosa that binds to cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP). Although the monomeric structure of unbound PA4608 has been studied in detail, the molecular details of c-di-GMP binding to this protein are still uncharacterized. Hence, we determined the solution structure of c-di-GMP bound PA4608. We found that PA4608 undergoes conformational changes to expose the c-di-GMP binding site by ejection of the C-terminal 310 helix. A dislocation of the C-terminal tail in the presence of c-di-GMP implies that this region acts as a lid that alternately covers and exposes the hydrophobic surface of the binding site. In addition, mutagenesis and NOE data for PA4608 revealed that conserved residues are in contact with the c-di-GMP molecule. The unique structural characteristics of PA4608, including its monomeric state and its ligand binding characteristics, yield insight into its function as a c-di-GMP receptor.