Heat-inducible transcription repressor HrcA, C-terminal (IPR021153)

Short name: HrcA_C

Overlapping homologous superfamilies

Domain relationships



Prokaryotic cells have a defence mechanism against a sudden heat-shock stress. Commonly, they induce a set of proteins that protect cellular proteins from being denatured by heat. Among such proteins are the GroE and DnaK chaperones whose transcription is regulated by a heat-shock repressor protein HrcA. HrcA is a winged helix-turn-helix repressor that negatively regulates the transcription of dnaK and groE operons by binding the upstream CIRCE (controlling inverted repeat of chaperone expression) element. In Bacillus subtilis this element is a perfect 9 base pair inverted repeat separated by a 9 base pair spacer.

The crystal structure of a heat-inducible transcriptional repressor, HrcA, from Thermotoga maritima has been reported at 2.2A resolution. HrcA is composed of three domains: an N-terminal winged helix-turn-helix domain (WHTH), a GAF-like domain, and an inserted dimerizing domain (IDD). The IDD shows a unique structural fold with an anti-parallel beta-sheet composed of three beta-strands sided by four alpha-helices. HrcA crystallises as a dimer, which is formed through hydrophobic contact between the IDDs and a limited contact that involves conserved residues between the GAF-like domains [PMID: 15979091]. The structural studies suggest that the inactive form of HrcA is the dimer and this is converted to its DNA-binding form by interaction with GroEL, which binds to a conserved C-terminal sequence region [PMID: 19277496, PMID: 15979091]. Comparison of the HrcA-CIRCE complexes from B. subtilis and Bacillus thermoglucosidasius (Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius), which grow at vastly different ranges of temperature shows that the thermostability profiles were consistent with the difference in the growth temperatures suggesting that HrcA can function as a thermosensor to detect temperature changes in cells [PMID: 12486078]. Any increase in temperature causes the dissociation of the HrcA from the CIRCE complex with the concomitant activation of transcription of the groE and dnaK operons.

This entry represents the C terminus of HrcA, consisting of the GAF-like domain with the inserted dimerising domain.

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006355 regulation of transcription, DNA-templated

Molecular Function

GO:0003677 DNA binding

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.