X-ray Structures of the Signal Recognition Particle Receptor Reveal Targeting Cycle Intermediates
FtsY and Ffh are structurally similar prokaryotic Signal Recognition Particle GTPases that play an essential role in the Signal Recognition Particle (SRP)-mediated cotranslational targeting of proteins to the membrane. The two GTPases assemble in a GTP-dependent manner to form a heterodimeric SRP targeting complex. We report here the 2.1 A X-ray structure of FtsY from T. aquaticus bound to GDP. The structure of the monomeric protein reveals, unexpectedly, canonical binding interactions for GDP. A comparison of the structures of the monomeric and complexed FtsY NG GTPase domain suggests that it undergoes a conformational change similar to that of Ffh NG during the assembly of the symmetric heterodimeric complex. However, in contrast to Ffh, in which the C-terminal helix shifts independently of the other subdomains, the C-terminal helix and N domain of T. aquaticus FtsY together behave as a rigid body during assembly, suggesting distinct mechanisms by which the interactions of the NG domain "module" are regulated in the context of the two SRP GTPases.