Crystal structure of FadR, a fatty acid-responsive transcription factor with a novel acyl coenzyme A-binding fold

D. M.F. Van Aalten, C. C. Dirusso, J. Knudsen, R. K. Wierenga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


FadR is a dimeric acyl coenzyme A (acyl CoA)-binding protein and transcription factor that regulates the expression of genes encoding fatty acid biosynthetic and degrading enzymes in Escherichia coli. Here, the 2.0 Å crystal structure of full-length FadR is described, determined using multi-wavelength anomalous dispersion. The structure reveals a dimer and a two-domain fold, with DNA-binding and acyl-CoA-binding sites located in an N-terminal and C-terminal domain, respectively. The N-terminal domain contains a winged helix-turn-helix prokaryotic DNA-binding fold. Comparison with known structures and analysis of mutagenesis data delineated the site of interaction with DNA. The C-terminal domain has a novel fold, consisting of a seven-helical bundle with a crossover topology. Careful analysis of the structure, together with mutational and biophysical data, revealed a putative hydrophobic acyl-CoA-binding site, buried in the core of the seven-helical bundle. This structure aids in understanding FadR function at a molecular level, provides the first structural scaffold for the large GntR family of transcription factors, which are keys in the control of metabolism in bacterial pathogens, and could thus be a possible target for novel chemotherapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5167-5177
Number of pages11
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acyl CoA
  • Fatty acid
  • Protein structure
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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