Background: Cyclic di-AMP inactivates the potassium transport activity of KtrA. Results: Cyclic di-AMP binding to KrtA induced conformational changes. Conclusion: Cyclic di-AMP selectively binds to the KtrA RCK_C domain and signals the inactivation of potassium transport. Significance: The molecular basis for the role of cyclic di-AMP in potassium channel activity was investigated.
Although it was only recently identified as a second messenger, c-di-AMP was found to have fundamental importance in numerous bacterial functions such as ion transport. The potassium transporter protein, KtrA, was identified as a c-di-AMP receptor. However, the co-crystallization of c-di-AMP with the protein has not been studied. Here, we determined the crystal structure of the KtrA RCK_C domain in complex with c-di-AMP. The c-di-AMP nucleotide, which adopts a U-shaped conformation, is bound at the dimer interface of RCK_C close to helices 3 and 4. c-di-AMP interacts with KtrA RCK_C mainly by forming hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions. c-di-AMP binding induces the contraction of the dimer, bringing the two monomers of KtrA RCK_C into close proximity. The KtrA RCK_C was able to interact with only c-di-AMP, but not with c-di-GMP, 3,3-cGAMP, ATP, and ADP. The structure of the KtrA RCK_C domain and c-di-AMP complex would expand our understanding about the mechanism of inactivation in Ktr transporters governed by c-di-AMP.