Crystallographic structure refinement at very high resolutions of a dozen periplasmic receptors has revealed that, though they have different sizes (26 to 60kDa) and little sequence homology, they have high tertiary structure similarity. They consist of two distinct globular domains bisected by a cleft or groove wherein the ligand binds and is buried by a hinge-bending motion between the two domains. Structural analysis also reveals how hydrogen-bonding interactions can be tailored to a wide spectrum of specificity, ranging from the stringent specificity for phosphate and sulphate to the more loose specificity for peptides.
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