RbsD is the only protein whose biochemical function is unknown among the six gene products of the rbs operon involved in the active transport of ribose. FucU, a paralogue of RbsD conserved from bacteria to human, is also the only protein whose function is unknown among the seven gene products of the L-fucose regulon. Here we report the crystal structures of Bacillus subtilis RbsD, which reveals a novel decameric toroidal assembly of the protein. Nuclear magnetic resonance and other studies on RbsD reveal that the intersubunit cleft of the protein binds specific forms of D-ribose, but it does not have an enzyme activity toward the sugar. Likewise, FucU binds L-fucose but lacks an enzyme activity toward this sugar. We conclude that RbsD and FucU are cytoplasmic sugar-binding proteins, a novel class of proteins whose functional role may lie in helping influx of the sugar substrates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology