01 August 2016
The mannitol transporter enzyme II Mtl of the bacterial phosphotransferase system is a multi‐domain protein that catalyzes mannitol uptake and phosphorylation. Here we investigated the domain association between cytosolic A and B domains of enzyme II Mtl, which are natively connected in Escherichia coli, but separated in Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis. NMR backbone assignment and residual dipolar couplings indicated that backbone folds were well conserved between the homologous domains. The equilibrium binding of separately expressed domains, however, exhibited ∼28‐fold higher affinity compared to the natively linked ones. Phosphorylation of the active site loop significantly contributed to the binding by reducing conformational dynamics at the binding interface, and a few key mutations at the interface were critical to further stabilize the complex by hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions. The affinity increase implicated that domain associations in cell could be maintained at an optimal level regardless of the linker.