We showed previously that rad50 and mre11 genes of thermophilic archaea are organized in an operon-like structure with a third gene (nurA) encoding a 5′ to 3′ exonuclease. Here, we show that the rad50, mre11 and nurA genes from the hyperthermo philic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius are co-transcribed with a fourth gene encoding a DNA helicase. This enzyme (HerA) is the prototype of a new class of DNA helicases able to utilize either 3′ or 5′ single-stranded DNA extensions for loading and subsequent DNA duplex unwinding. To our knowledge, DNA helicases capable of translocating along the DNA in both directions have not been identified previously. Sequence analysis of HerA shows that it is a member of the TrwB, FtsK and VirB4/VirD4 families of the PilT class NTPases. HerA homologs are found in all thermophilic archaeal species and, in all cases except one, the rad50, mre11, nurA and herA genes are grouped together. These results suggest that the archaeal Rad50–Mre11 complex might act in association with a 5′ to 3′ exonuclease (NurA) and a bipolar DNA helicase (HerA) indicating a probable involvement in the initiation step of homologous recombination.
ICEBs1 is an integrative and conjugative element found in the chromosome of Bacillus subtilis. ICEBs1 encodes functions needed for its excision and transfer to recipient cells. We found that the ICEBs1 gene conE (formerly yddE) is required for conjugation and that conjugative transfer of ICEBs1 requires a conserved ATPase motif of ConE. ConE belongs to the HerA/FtsK superfamily of ATPases, which includes the well-characterized proteins FtsK, SpoIIIE, VirB4, and VirD4. We found that a ConE-GFP (green fluorescent protein) fusion associated with the membrane predominantly at the cell poles in ICEBs1 donor cells. At least one ICEBs1 product likely interacts with ConE to target it to the membrane and cell poles, as ConE-GFP was dispersed throughout the cytoplasm in a strain lacking ICEBs1. We also visualized the subcellular location of ICEBs1. When integrated in the chromosome, ICEBs1 was located near midcell along the length of the cell, a position characteristic of that chromosomal region. Following excision, ICEBs1 was more frequently found near a cell pole. Excision of ICEBs1 also caused altered positioning of at least one component of the replisome. Taken together, our findings indicate that ConE is a critical component of the ICEBs1 conjugation machinery, that conjugative transfer of ICEBs1 from B. subtilis likely initiates at a donor cell pole, and that ICEBs1 affects the subcellular position of the replisome.
Helicase–nuclease systems dedicated to DNA end resection in preparation for homologous recombination (HR) are present in all kingdoms of life. In thermophilic archaea, the HerA helicase and NurA nuclease cooperate with the highly conserved Mre11 and Rad50 proteins during HR-dependent DNA repair. Here we show that HerA and NurA must interact in a complex with specific subunit stoichiometry to process DNA ends efficiently. We determine crystallographically that NurA folds in a toroidal dimer of intertwined RNaseH-like domains. The central channel of the NurA dimer is too narrow for double-stranded DNA but appears well suited to accommodate one or two strands of an unwound duplex. We map a critical interface of the complex to an exposed hydrophobic epitope of NurA abutting the active site. Based upon the presented evidence, we propose alternative mechanisms of DNA end processing by the HerA-NurA complex.
The Mre11/Rad50 complex has been implicated in the early steps of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair through homologous recombination in several organisms. However, the enzymatic properties of this complex are incompatible with the generation of 3’ single-stranded DNA for recombinase loading and strand exchange. In thermophilic archaea, the Mre11 and Rad50 genes cluster in an operon with genes encoding a helicase, HerA, and a 5’ to 3’ exonuclease, NurA, suggesting a common function. Here we show that purified Mre11 and Rad50 from Pyrococcus furiosus act cooperatively with HerA and NurA to resect the 5’ strand at a DNA end under physiological conditions in vitro. The 3’ single-stranded DNA generated by these enzymes can be utilized by the archaeal RecA homolog RadA to catalyze strand exchange. This work elucidates how the conserved Mre11/Rad50 complex promotes DNA end resection in archaea, and may serve as a model for DSB processing in eukaryotes.
Two C-terminal fragments of the RNA helicase Hera have been crytallized in three crystal forms, one of which was phased by MAD using a single selenium site.
Heat-resistant RNA-dependent ATPase (Hera) from Thermus thermophilus is a DEAD-box RNA helicase. Two constructs encompassing the second RecA-like domain and the C-terminal domain of Hera were overproduced in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Single crystals of both Hera constructs were obtained in three crystal forms. A tetragonal crystal form belonged to space group P41212, with unit-cell parameters a = 65.5, c = 153.0 Å, and contained one molecule per asymmetric unit. Two orthorhombic forms belonged to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 62.8, b = 70.9, c = 102.3 Å (form I) and a = 41.6, b = 67.6, c = 183.5 Å (form II). Both orthorhombic forms contained two molecules per asymmetric unit. All crystals diffracted X-rays to beyond 3 Å resolution, but the tetragonal data sets displayed high Wilson B values and high mean |E
2 − 1| values, indicating potential disorder and anisotropy. The tetragonal crystal was phased by MAD using a single selenium site.
Hera; Thermus thermophilus; DEAD-box RNA helicases; ATPases
DEAD box helicases use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to remodel RNA structures or RNA/protein complexes. They share a common helicase core with conserved signature motifs, and additional domains may confer substrate specificity. Identification of a specific substrate is crucial towards understanding the physiological role of a helicase. RNA binding and ATPase stimulation are necessary, but not sufficient criteria for a bona fide helicase substrate. Here, we report single molecule FRET experiments that identify fragments of the 23S rRNA comprising hairpin 92 and RNase P RNA as substrates for the Thermus thermophilus DEAD box helicase Hera. Both substrates induce a switch to the closed conformation of the helicase core and stimulate the intrinsic ATPase activity of Hera. Binding of these RNAs is mediated by the Hera C-terminal domain, but does not require a previously proposed putative RNase P motif within this domain. ATP-dependent unwinding of a short helix adjacent to hairpin 92 in the ribosomal RNA suggests a specific role for Hera in ribosome assembly, analogously to the Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis helicases DbpA and YxiN. In addition, the specificity of Hera for RNase P RNA may be required for RNase P RNA folding or RNase P assembly.
The ubiquitous Rad50 and Mre11 proteins play a key role in many processes involved in the maintenance of genome integrity in Bacteria and Eucarya, but their function in the Archaea is presently unknown. We showed previously that in most hyperthermophilic archaea, rad50-mre11 genes are linked to nurA encoding both a single-strand endonuclease and a 5' to 3' exonuclease, and herA, encoding a bipolar DNA helicase which suggests the involvement of the four proteins in common molecular pathway(s). Since genetic tools for hyperthermophilic archaea are just emerging, we utilized immuno-detection approaches to get the first in vivo data on the role(s) of these proteins in the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.
We first showed that S. acidocaldarius can repair DNA damage induced by high doses of gamma rays, and we performed a time course analysis of the total levels and sub-cellular partitioning of Rad50, Mre11, HerA and NurA along with the RadA recombinase in both control and irradiated cells. We found that during the exponential phase, all proteins are synthesized and display constant levels, but that all of them exhibit a different sub-cellular partitioning. Following gamma irradiation, both Mre11 and RadA are immediately recruited to DNA and remain DNA-bound in the course of DNA repair. Furthermore, we show by immuno-precipitation assays that Rad50, Mre11 and the HerA helicase interact altogether.
Our analyses strongly support that in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, the Mre11 protein and the RadA recombinase might play an active role in the repair of DNA damage introduced by gamma rays and/or may act as DNA damage sensors. Moreover, our results demonstrate the functional interaction between Mre11, Rad50 and the HerA helicase and suggest that each protein play different roles when acting on its own or in association with its partners. This report provides the first in vivo evidence supporting the implication of the Mre11 protein in DNA repair processes in the Archaea and showing its interaction with both Rad50 and the HerA bipolar helicase. Further studies on the functional interactions between these proteins, the NurA nuclease and the RadA recombinase, will allow us to define their roles and mechanism of action.
The conjugative coupling protein TrwB is responsible for connecting the relaxosome to the type IV secretion system during conjugative DNA transfer of plasmid R388. It is directly involved in transport of the relaxase TrwC, and it displays an ATPase activity probably involved in DNA pumping. We designed a conjugation assay in which the frequency of DNA transfer is directly proportional to the amount of TrwB. A collection of point mutants was constructed in the TrwB cytoplasmic domain on the basis of the crystal structure of TrwBΔN70, targeting the nucleotide triphosphate (NTP)-binding region, the cytoplasmic surface, or the internal channel in the hexamer. An additional set of transfer-deficient mutants was obtained by random mutagenesis. Most mutants were impaired in both DNA and protein transport. We found that the integrity of the nucleotide binding domain is absolutely required for TrwB function, which is also involved in monomer-monomer interactions. Polar residues surrounding the entrance and inside the internal channel were important for TrwB function and may be involved in interactions with the relaxosomal components. Finally, the N-terminal transmembrane domain of TrwB was subjected to random mutagenesis followed by a two-hybrid screen for mutants showing enhanced protein-protein interactions with the related TrwE protein of Bartonella tribocorum. Several point mutants were obtained with mutations in the transmembranal helices: specifically, one proline from each protein may be the key residue involved in the interaction of the coupling protein with the type IV secretion apparatus.
Escherichia coli FtsK is a powerful, fast, double-stranded DNA translocase, which can strip proteins from DNA. FtsK acts in the late stages of chromosome segregation by facilitating sister chromosome unlinking at the division septum. KOPS-guided DNA translocation directs FtsK towards dif, located within the replication terminus region, ter, where FtsK activates XerCD site-specific recombination. Here we show that FtsK translocation stops specifically at XerCD-dif, thereby preventing removal of XerCD from dif and allowing activation of chromosome unlinking by recombination. Stoppage of translocation at XerCD-dif is accompanied by a reduction in FtsK ATPase and is not associated with FtsK dissociation from DNA. Specific stoppage at recombinase-DNA complexes does not require the FtsKγ regulatory subdomain, which interacts with XerD, and is not dependent on either recombinase-mediated DNA cleavage activity, or the formation of synaptic complexes.
DEAD box helicases catalyze the ATP-dependent destabilization of RNA duplexes. Whereas duplex separation is mediated by the helicase core shared by all members of the family, flanking domains often contribute to binding of the RNA substrate. The Thermus thermophilus DEAD-box helicase Hera (for “heat-resistant RNA-binding ATPase”) contains a C-terminal RNA-binding domain (RBD). We have analyzed RNA binding to the Hera RBD by a combination of mutational analyses, nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography, and identify residues on helix α1 and the C-terminus as the main determinants for high-affinity RNA binding. A crystal structure of the RBD in complex with a single-stranded RNA resolves the RNA–protein interactions in the RBD core region around helix α1. Differences in RNA binding to the Hera RBD and to the structurally similar RBD of the Bacillus subtilis DEAD box helicase YxiN illustrate the versatility of RNA recognition motifs as RNA-binding platforms. Comparison of chemical shift perturbation patterns elicited by different RNAs, and the effect of sequence changes in the RNA on binding and unwinding show that the RBD binds a single-stranded RNA region at the core and simultaneously contacts double-stranded RNA through its C-terminal tail. The helicase core then unwinds an adjacent RNA duplex. Overall, the mode of RNA binding by Hera is consistent with a possible function as a general RNA chaperone.
DEAD box helicases are involved in nearly all aspects of RNA metabolism. They share a common helicase core, and may comprise additional domains that contribute to RNA binding. The Thermus thermophilus helicase Hera is the first dimeric DEAD box helicase. Crystal structures of Hera fragments reveal a bipartite C-terminal domain with a novel dimerization motif and an RNA-binding module. We provide a first glimpse on the additional RNA-binding module outside the Hera helicase core. The dimerization and RNA-binding domains are connected to the C-terminal RecA domain by a hinge region that confers exceptional flexibility onto the helicase, allowing for different juxtapositions of the RecA-domains in the dimer. Combination of the previously determined N-terminal Hera structure with the C-terminal Hera structures allows generation of a model for the entire Hera dimer, where two helicase cores can work in conjunction on large RNA substrates.
TrwD, a hexameric ATP hydrolase encoded by plasmid R388, is a member of the PulE/VirB11 protein superfamily of traffic ATPases. It is essential for plasmid conjugation, particularly for expression of the conjugative W pilus. In the present study, we analyzed the effects that TrwD produced on unilamellar vesicles consisting of cardiolipin and phosphatidylcholine in equimolar amounts. TrwD induced dose-dependent vesicle aggregation and intervesicular mixing of the lipids located in the outer monolayers in the presence of calcium. It also induced extensive leakage of the vesicular aqueous contents. A point mutant of TrwD with a mutation in the P loop of the nucleotide-binding region (K203Q) that lacks both ATPase activity and the ability to support conjugation showed the same behavior as native TrwD in all of these processes, which were independent of the presence of ATP. Structure prediction methods revealed a close similarity to Helicobacter pylori protein HP0525, another member of the PulE/VirB11 family, whose crystal structure is known. The interpretation of our data in the light of this structure is that TrwD interacts with the lipid bilayer through hydrophobic regions in its N-terminal domain, which leads to a certain degree of membrane destabilization. TrwD appears to be a part of the conjugation machinery that interacts with the membranous systems in order to facilitate DNA transfer in bacteria.
The AAA+ superfamily of proteins is a class of motor ATPases performing a wide range of functions that typically exist as hexamers. The ATPase of phi29 DNA packaging motor has long been a subject of debate in terms of stoichiometry and mechanism of action. Here, we confirmed the stoichiometry of phi29 motor ATPase to be a hexamer and provide data suggesting that the phi29 motor ATPase is a member of the classical hexameric AAA+ superfamily. Native PAGE, EMSA, capillary electrophoresis, ATP titration, and binomial distribution assay show that the ATPase is a hexamer. Mutations in the known Walker motifs of the ATPase validated our previous assumptions that the protein exists as another member of this AAA+ superfamily. Our data also supports the finding that the phi29 DNA packaging motor uses a revolution mechanism without rotation or coiling (Schwartz et al., this issue).
Revolution Motor; Hexameric ATPase; Nanobiotechnology; Nanomotor; Push through a one-way valve
In prokaryotes, the transfer of DNA between cellular compartments is essential for the segregation and exchange of genetic material. SpoIIIE and FtsK are AAA+ ATPases responsible for intercompartmental chromosome translocation in bacteria. Despite functional and sequence similarities, these motors were proposed to use drastically different mechanisms: SpoIIIE was suggested to be a unidirectional DNA transporter that exports DNA from the compartment in which it assembles, whereas FtsK was shown to establish translocation directionality by interacting with highly skewed chromosomal sequences. Here we use a combination of single-molecule, bioinformatics and in vivo fluorescence methodologies to study the properties of DNA translocation by SpoIIIE in vitro and in vivo. These data allow us to propose a sequence-directed DNA exporter model that reconciles previously proposed models for SpoIIIE and FtsK, constituting a unified model for directional DNA transport by the SpoIIIE/FtsK family of AAA+ ring ATPases.
Double-stranded DNA bacteriophages and their eukaryotic virus counterparts have twelve-fold head-tail connector assemblages embedded at a unique capsid vertex. This vertex is the site of assembly of the DNA packaging motor, and the connector has a central channel through which viral DNA passes during genome packaging and subsequent host infection. Crystal structures of connectors from different phages reveal either disordered residues or structured loops that project into the connector channel. Given the proximity to the translocating DNA substrate, these loops have been proposed to play a role in DNA packaging. Previous models have proposed structural motions in either the packaging ATPase or the connector channel loops as the driving force that translocates the DNA into the prohead. Here we mutate the channel loops of the Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage φ29 connector and show that these loops have no active role in translocation of DNA. Instead, they appear to have an essential function near the end of packaging, acting to retain the packaged DNA in the head in preparation for motor detachment and subsequent tail assembly and virion completion.
bacteriophage phi29; DNA packaging; head-tail connector; virus assembly; portal protein
The importance of nanomotors in nanotechnology is akin to that of mechanical engines to daily life. The AAA+ superfamily is a class of nanomotors performing various functions. Their hexagonal arrangement facilitates bottom-up assembly for stable structures. The bacteriophage phi29 DNA translocation motor contains three coaxial rings: a dodecamer channel, a hexameric ATPase ring, and a hexameric pRNA ring. The viral DNA packaging motor has been believed to be a rotational machine. However, we discovered a revolution mechanism without rotation. By analogy, the earth revolves around the sun while rotating on its own axis. One-way traffic of dsDNA translocation is facilitated by five factors: (1) ATPase changes its conformation to revolve dsDNA within a hexameric channel in one direction; (2) the 30° tilt of the channel subunits causes an antiparallel arrangement between two helices of dsDNA and channel wall to advance one-way translocation; (3) unidirectional flow property of the internal channel loops serves as a ratchet valve to prevent reversal; (4) 5′–3′ single-direction movement of one DNA strand along the channel wall ensures single direction; and (5) four electropositive layers interact with one strand of the electronegative dsDNA phosphate backbone, resulting in four relaying transitional pauses during translocation. The discovery of a riding system along one strand provides a motion nanosystem for cargo transportation and a tool for studying force generation without coiling, friction, and torque. The revolution of dsDNA among 12 subunits offers a series of recognition sites on the DNA backbone to provide additional spatial variables for nucleotide discrimination for sensing applications.
bionanomotor; AAA+ ATPase superfamily; one-way traffic mechanism; DNA packaging; virus assembly; bionanotechnology
A new superfamily of (putative) DNA-dependent ATPases is described that includes the ATPase domains of prokaryotic NtrC-related transcription regulators, MCM proteins involved in the initiation of eukaryotic DNA replication, and a group of uncharacterized bacterial and chloroplast proteins. MCM proteins are shown to contain a modified form of the ATP-binding motif and are predicted to mediate ATP-dependent opening of double-stranded DNA in the replication origins. In a second line of investigation, it is demonstrated that the products of unidentified open reading frames from Marchantia mitochondria and from yeast, and a domain of a baculovirus protein involved in viral DNA replication are related to the superfamily III of DNA and RNA helicases that previously has been known to include only proteins of small viruses. Comparison of the multiple alignments showed that the proteins of the NtrC superfamily and the helicases of superfamily III share three related sequence motifs tightly packed in the ATPase domain that consists of 100-150 amino acid residues. A similar array of conserved motifs is found in the family of DnaA-related ATPases. It is hypothesized that the three large groups of nucleic acid-dependent ATPases have similar structure of the core ATPase domain and have evolved from a common ancestor.
Mycobacterial UvrD2 is a DNA-dependent ATPase with 3′ to 5′ helicase activity. UvrD2 is an atypical helicase, insofar as its N-terminal ATPase domain resembles the superfamily I helicases UvrD/PcrA, yet it has a C-terminal HRDC domain, which is a feature of RecQ-type superfamily II helicases. The ATPase and HRDC domains are connected by a CxxC-(14)-CxxC tetracysteine module that defines a new clade of UvrD2-like bacterial helicases found only in Actinomycetales. By characterizing truncated versions of Mycobacterium smegmatis UvrD2, we show that whereas the HRDC domain is not required for ATPase or helicase activities in vitro, deletion of the tetracysteine module abolishes duplex unwinding while preserving ATP hydrolysis. Replacing each of the CxxC motifs with a double-alanine variant AxxA had no effect on duplex unwinding, signifying that the domain module, not the cysteines, is crucial for function. The helicase activity of a truncated UvrD2 lacking the tetracysteine and HRDC domains was restored by the DNA-binding protein Ku, a component of the mycobacterial NHEJ system and a cofactor for DNA unwinding by the paralogous mycobacterial helicase UvrD1. Our findings indicate that coupling of ATP hydrolysis to duplex unwinding can be achieved by protein domains acting in cis or trans. Attempts to disrupt the M. smegmatis uvrD2 gene were unsuccessful unless a second copy of uvrD2 was present elsewhere in the chromosome, indicating that UvrD2 is essential for growth of M. smegmatis.
The Rep protein of tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus (TYLCSV), a single-stranded DNA virus of plants, is the replication initiator essential for virus replication. TYLCSV Rep has been classified among ATPases associated with various cellular activities (AAA+ ATPases), in superfamily 3 of small DNA and RNA virus replication initiators whose paradigmatic member is simian virus 40 large T antigen. Members of this family are DNA- or RNA-dependent ATPases with helicase activity necessary for viral replication. Another distinctive feature of AAA+ ATPases is their quaternary structure, often composed of hexameric rings. TYLCSV Rep has ATPase activity, but the helicase activity, which is instrumental in further characterization of the mechanism of rolling-circle replication used by geminiviruses, has been a longstanding question. We present results showing that TYLCSV Rep lacking the 121 N-terminal amino acids has helicase activity comparable to that of the other helicases: requirements for a 3′ overhang and 3′-to-5′ polarity of unwinding, with some distinct features and with a minimal AAA+ ATPase domain. We also show that the helicase activity is dependent on the oligomeric state of the protein.
FtsK translocates dsDNA directionally at >5 kb/s, even under strong forces. In vivo, the action of FtsK at the bacterial division septum is required to complete the final stages of chromosome unlinking and segregation. Despite the availability of translocase structures, the mechanism by which ATP hydrolysis is coupled to DNA translocation is not understood. Here, we use covalently linked translocase subunits to gain insight into the DNA translocation mechanism. Covalent trimers of wild-type subunits dimerized efficiently to form hexamers with high translocation activity and an ability to activate XerCD-dif chromosome unlinking. Covalent trimers with a catalytic mutation in the central subunit formed hexamers with two mutated subunits that had robust ATPase activity. They showed wild-type translocation velocity in single-molecule experiments, activated translocation-dependent chromosome unlinking, but had an impaired ability to displace either a triplex oligonucleotide, or streptavidin linked to biotin-DNA, during translocation along DNA. This separation of translocation velocity and ability to displace roadblocks is more consistent with a sequential escort mechanism than stochastic, hand-off, or concerted mechanisms.
Escherichia coli chromosome segregation; FtsK DNA translocase; molecular motor
The ASCE superfamily of proteins consists of structurally similar ATPases associated with diverse cellular activities involving metabolism and transport of proteins and nucleic acids in all forms of life1. A subset of these enzymes are multimeric ringed pumps responsible for DNA transport in processes including genome packaging in adenoviruses, herpesviruses, poxviruses, and tailed bacteriophages2. While their mechanism of mechanochemical conversion is beginning to be understood3, little is known about how these motors engage their nucleic acid substrates. Do motors contact a single DNA element, such as a phosphate or a base, or are contacts distributed over multiple parts of the DNA? In addition, what role do these contacts play in the mechanochemical cycle? Here we use the genome packaging motor of the Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage φ294 to address these questions. The full mechanochemical cycle of the motor, whose ATPase is a pentameric-ring5 of gene product 16, involves two phases-- an ATP loading dwell followed by a translocation burst of four 2.5-bp steps6 triggered by hydrolysis product release7. By challenging the motor with a variety of modified DNA substrates, we find that during the dwell phase important contacts are made with adjacent phosphates every 10-bp on the 5’-3’ strand in the direction of packaging. In addition to providing stable, long-lived contacts, these phosphate interactions also regulate the chemical cycle. In contrast, during the burst phase, we find that DNA translocation is driven against large forces by extensive contacts, some of which are not specific to the chemical moieties of DNA. Such promiscuous, non-specific contacts may reflect common translocase-substrate interactions for both the nucleic acid and protein translocases of the ASCE superfamily1.
It has long been believed that the DNA-packaging motor of dsDNA viruses utilizes a rotation mechanism. Here we report a revolution rather than rotation mechanism for the bacteriophage phi29 DNA packaging motor. The phi29 motor contains six copies of the ATPase (Schwartz et al., this issue); ATP binding to one ATPase subunit stimulates the ATPase to adopt a conformation with a high affinity for dsDNA. ATP hydrolysis induces a new conformation with a lower affinity, thus transferring the dsDNA to an adjacent subunit by a power stroke. DNA revolves unidirectionally along the hexameric channel wall of the ATPase, but neither the dsDNA nor the ATPase itself rotates along its own axis. One ATP is hydrolyzed in each transitional step, and six ATPs are consumed for one helical turn of 360°. Transition of the same dsDNA chain along the channel wall, but at a location 60° different from the last contact, urges dsDNA to move forward 1.75 base pairs each step (10.5 bp per turn/6ATP=1.75 bp per ATP). Each connector subunit tilts with a left-handed orientation at a 30° angle in relation to its vertical axis that runs anti-parallel to the right-handed dsDNA helix, facilitating the one-way traffic of dsDNA. The connector channel has been shown to cause four steps of transition due to four positively charged lysine rings that make direct contact with the negatively charged DNA phosphate backbone. Translocation of dsDNA into the procapsid by revolution avoids the difficulties during rotation that are associated with DNA supercoiling. Since the revolution mechanism can apply to any stoichiometry, this motor mechanism might reconcile the stoichiometry discrepancy in many phage systems where the ATPase has been found as a tetramer, hexamer, or nonamer.
Viral DNA packaging; AAA+ family; Nanobiotechnology; ATPase; Packaging mechanism
We have studied the stimulation of topoisomerase IV (Topo IV) by the C-terminal AAA+ domain of FtsK. These two proteins combine to assure proper chromosome segregation in the cell. Stimulation of Topo IV activity was dependent on the chirality of the DNA substrate: FtsK stimulated decatenation of catenated DNA and relaxation of positively supercoiled [(+)ve sc] DNA, but inhibited relaxation of negatively supercoiled [(−)ve sc] DNA. The DNA translocation activity of FtsK was not required for stimulation, but was required for inhibition. DNA chirality did not affect any of the activities of FtsK, suggesting that FtsK possesses an inherent Topo IV stimulatory activity that is presumably mediated by protein–protein interactions, the stability of Topo IV on the DNA substrate dictated the effect observed. Inhibition occurs because FtsK can strip distributively acting topoisomerase off (−)ve scDNA, but not from either (+)ve scDNA or catenated DNA where the enzyme acts processively. Our analyses suggest that FtsK increases the efficiency of trapping of the transfer segment of DNA during the catalytic cycle of the topoisomerase.
A mutation in a newly discovered Escherichia coli cell division gene, ftsK, causes a temperature-sensitive late-stage block in division but does not affect chromosome replication or segregation. This defect is specifically suppressed by deletion of dacA, coding for the peptidoglycan DD-carboxypeptidase, PBP 5. FtsK is a large polypeptide (147 kDa) consisting of an N-terminal domain with several predicted membrane-spanning regions, a proline-glutamine-rich domain, and a C-terminal domain with a nucleotide-binding consensus sequence. FtsK has extensive sequence identity with a family of proteins from a wide variety of prokaryotes and plasmids. The plasmid proteins are required for intercellular DNA transfer, and one of the bacterial proteins (the SpoIIIE protein of Bacillus subtilis) has also been implicated in intracellular chromosomal DNA transfer.
The replication protein ORF904 from the plasmid pRN1 is a multifunctional enzyme with ATPase-, primase- and DNA polymerase activity. Sequence analysis suggests the presence of at least two conserved domains: an N-terminal prim/pol domain with primase and DNA polymerase activities and a C-terminal superfamily 3 helicase domain with a strong double-stranded DNA dependant ATPase activity. The exact molecular function of the helicase domain in the process of plasmid replication remains unclear. Potentially this motor protein is involved in duplex remodelling and/or origin opening at the plasmid replication origin. In support of this we found that the monomeric replication protein ORF904 forms a hexameric ring in the presence of DNA. It is able to translocate along single-stranded DNA in 3′–5′ direction as well as on double-stranded DNA. Critical residues important for ATPase activity and DNA translocation activity were identified and are in agreement with a homology model of the helicase domain. In addition we propose that a winged helix DNA-binding domain at the C-terminus of the helicase domain could assist the binding of the replication protein specifically to the replication origin.