Single-stranded DNA-binding proteins (SSBs) play vital roles in all aspects of DNA metabolism in all three domains of life and are characterized by the presence of one or more OB fold ssDNA-binding domains. Here, using the genetically tractable euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii as a model, we present the first genetic analysis of SSB function in the archaea. We show that genes encoding the OB fold and zinc finger-containing RpaA1 and RpaB1 proteins are individually non-essential for cell viability but share an essential function, whereas the gene encoding the triple OB fold RpaC protein is essential. Loss of RpaC function can however be rescued by elevated expression of RpaB, indicative of functional overlap between the two classes of haloarchaeal SSB. Deletion analysis is used to demonstrate important roles for individual OB folds in RpaC and to show that conserved N- and C-terminal domains are required for efficient repair of DNA damage. Consistent with a role for RpaC in DNA repair, elevated expression of this protein leads to enhanced resistance to DNA damage. Taken together, our results offer important insights into archaeal SSB function and establish the haloarchaea as a valuable model for further studies.
Single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-binding proteins play an essential role in DNA replication and repair. They use oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding (OB)-folds, a five-stranded β-sheet coiled into a closed barrel, to bind to ssDNA thereby protecting and stabilizing the DNA. In eukaryotes the ssDNA-binding protein (SSB) is known as replication protein A (RPA) and consists of three distinct subunits that function as a heterotrimer. The bacterial homolog is termed SSB and functions as a homotetramer. In the archaeon Haloferax volcanii there are three genes encoding homologs of RPA. Two of the rpa genes (rpa1 and rpa3) exist in operons with a novel gene specific to Euryarchaeota; this gene encodes a protein that we have termed RPA-associated protein (rpap). The rpap genes encode proteins belonging to COG3390 group and feature OB-folds, suggesting that they might cooperate with RPA in binding to ssDNA. Our genetic analysis showed that rpa1 and rpa3 deletion mutants have differing phenotypes; only Δrpa3 strains are hypersensitive to DNA damaging agents. Deletion of the rpa3-associated gene rpap3 led to similar levels of DNA damage sensitivity, as did deletion of the rpa3 operon, suggesting that RPA3 and RPAP3 function in the same pathway. Protein pull-downs involving recombinant hexahistidine-tagged RPAs showed that RPA3 co-purifies with RPAP3, and RPA1 co-purifies with RPAP1. This indicates that the RPAs interact only with their respective associated proteins; this was corroborated by the inability to construct rpa1 rpap3 and rpa3 rpap1 double mutants. This is the first report investigating the individual function of the archaeal COG3390 RPA-associated proteins (RPAPs). We have shown genetically and biochemically that the RPAPs interact with their respective RPAs, and have uncovered a novel single-stranded DNA-binding complex that is unique to Euryarchaeota.
archaea; Haloferax volcanii; RPA single-strand DNA-binding protein; COG3390 RPA-associated protein; DNA repair; protein overexpression; Cdc48d
The crystal structure of PCNA from the halophilic archaeon H. volcanii reveals specific features of the charge distribution on the protein surface that reflect adaptation to a high-salt environment and suggests a different type of interaction with DNA in halophilic PCNAs.
The sliding clamp proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) plays vital roles in many aspects of DNA replication and repair in eukaryotic cells and in archaea. Realising the full potential of archaea as a model for PCNA function requires a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches. In order to provide a platform for subsequent reverse genetic analysis, PCNA from the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii was subjected to crystallographic analysis. The gene was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli and the protein was purified by affinity chromatography and crystallized by the vapour-diffusion technique. The structure was determined by molecular replacement and refined at 3.5 Å resolution to a final R factor of 23.7% (R
free = 25%). PCNA from H. volcanii was found to be homotrimeric and to resemble other homotrimeric PCNA clamps but with several differences that appear to be associated with adaptation of the protein to the high intracellular salt concentrations found in H. volcanii cells.
PCNA–DNA interactions; sliding clamps; halophilic environment
Haloferax volcanii and Halomonas elongata have been selected as representatives of halophilic Archaea and Bacteria, respectively, to analyze the responses to various osmolarities at the protein synthesis level. We have identified a set of high-salt-related proteins (39, 24, 20, and 15.5 kDa in H. elongata; 70, 68, 48, and 16 kDa in H. volcanii) whose synthesis rates increased with increasing salinities. A different set of proteins (60, 42, 15, and 6 kDa for H. elongata; 63, 44, 34, 18, 17, and 6 kDa for H. volcanii), some unique for low salinities, was induced under low-salt conditions. For both organisms, and especially for the haloarchaeon, adaptation to low-salt conditions involved a stronger and more specific response than adaptation to high-salt conditions, indicating that unique mechanisms may have evolved for low-salinity adaptation. In the case of H. volcanii, proteins with a typical transient response to osmotic shock, induced by both hypo- and hyperosmotic conditions, probably corresponding to described heat shock proteins and showing the characteristics of general stress proteins, have also been identified. Cell recovery after a shift to low salinities was immediate in both organisms. In contrast, adaptation to higher salinities in both cases involved a lag period during which growth and general protein synthesis were halted, although the high-salt-related proteins were induced rapidly. In H. volcanii, this lag period corresponded exactly to the time needed for cells to accumulate adequate intracellular potassium concentrations, while extrusion of potassium after the down-shift was immediate. Thus, reaching osmotic balance must be the main limiting factor for recovery of cell functions after the variation in salinity.
We report here the effect of environmental parameters, salinity, temperature, and an intercalating drug on plasmid topology in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii. We first studied the topological state of the plasmid pHV11 in media of different salt compositions and concentrations. The superhelical density of plasmid PHV11 varies in a way that depends on the kind of salt and on the concentrations of individual salts. With respect to growth temperature, the plasmid linking number increased at higher temperature in a linear way, contrary to what has been reported for Escherichia coli, in which the plasmid linking number decreased at higher temperature. These results suggest that some of the mechanisms that control DNA supercoiling in halophilic Archaea may be different from those described for E. coli. However, homeostatic control of DNA supercoiling seems to occur in haloarchaea, as in Bacteria, since we found that relaxation of DNA by chloroquine triggers an increase in negative supercoiling.
Halophilic enzymes function optimally at high salt concentrations and are active at low water availability. Such conditions are encountered at elevated concentrations of solutes such as salts and sugars, and at high concentrations of organic solvents. However, expression in heterologous hosts such as Escherichia coli can cause problems, since halophilic proteins typically misfold and aggregate in conditions of low ionic strength. We have harnessed the sophisticated genetic tools available for the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, to develop a system for the overexpression and purification of halophilic proteins under native conditions.
protein overexpression; His-tag; archaea; Haloferax volcanii; halophile
The signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ribonucleoprotein complex involved in the recognition and targeting of nascent extracytoplasmic proteins in all three domains of life. In Archaea, SRP contains 7S RNA like its eukaryal counterpart, yet only includes two of the six protein subunits found in the eukaryal complex. To further our understanding of the archaeal SRP, 7S RNA, SRP19 and SRP54 of the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii have been expressed and purified, and used to reconstitute the ternary SRP complex. The availability of SRP components from a haloarchaeon offers insight into the structure, assembly and function of this ribonucleoprotein complex at saturating salt conditions. While the amino acid sequences of H.volcanii SRP19 and SRP54 are modified presumably as an adaptation to their saline surroundings, the interactions between these halophilic SRP components and SRP RNA appear conserved, with the possibility of a few exceptions. Indeed, the H.volcanii SRP can assemble in the absence of high salt. As reported with other archaeal SRPs, the limited binding of H.volcanii SRP54 to SRP RNA is enhanced in the presence of SRP19. Finally, immunolocalization reveals that H.volcanii SRP54 is found in the cytosolic fraction, where it is associated with the ribosomal fraction of the cell.
The high intracellular salt concentration required to maintain a halophilic lifestyle poses challenges to haloarchaeal proteins that must stay soluble, stable and functional in this extreme environment. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a fundamental protein involved in maintaining genome integrity, with roles in both DNA replication and repair. To investigate the halophilic adaptation of such a key protein we have crystallised and solved the structure of Haloferax volcanii PCNA (HvPCNA) to a resolution of 2.0 Å.
The overall architecture of HvPCNA is very similar to other known PCNAs, which are highly structurally conserved. Three commonly observed adaptations in halophilic proteins are higher surface acidity, bound ions and increased numbers of intermolecular ion pairs (in oligomeric proteins). HvPCNA possesses the former two adaptations but not the latter, despite functioning as a homotrimer. Strikingly, the positive surface charge considered key to PCNA's role as a sliding clamp is dramatically reduced in the halophilic protein. Instead, bound cations within the solvation shell of HvPCNA may permit sliding along negatively charged DNA by reducing electrostatic repulsion effects.
The extent to which individual proteins adapt to halophilic conditions varies, presumably due to their diverse characteristics and roles within the cell. The number of ion pairs observed in the HvPCNA monomer-monomer interface was unexpectedly low. This may reflect the fact that the trimer is intrinsically stable over a wide range of salt concentrations and therefore additional modifications for trimer maintenance in high salt conditions are not required. Halophilic proteins frequently bind anions and cations and in HvPCNA cation binding may compensate for the remarkable reduction in positive charge in the pore region, to facilitate functional interactions with DNA. In this way, HvPCNA may harness its environment as opposed to simply surviving in extreme halophilic conditions.
The oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding (OB) fold is central to the architecture of single-stranded- DNA-binding proteins, which are polypeptides essential for diverse cellular processes, including DNA replication, repair, and recombination. In archaea, single-stranded DNA-binding proteins composed of multiple OB folds and a zinc finger domain, in a single polypeptide, have been described. The OB folds of these proteins were more similar to their eukaryotic counterparts than to their bacterial ones. Thus, the archaeal protein is called replication protein A (RPA), as in eukaryotes. Unlike most organisms, Methanosarcina acetivorans harbors multiple functional RPA proteins, and it was our interest to determine whether the different proteins play different roles in DNA transactions. Of particular interest was lagging-strand DNA synthesis, where recently RPA has been shown to regulate the size of the 5′ region cleaved during Okazaki fragment processing. We report here that M. acetivorans RPA1 (MacRPA1), a protein composed of four OB folds in a single polypeptide, inhibits cleavage of a long flap (20 nucleotides) by M. acetivorans flap endonuclease 1 (MacFEN1). To gain a further insight into the requirement of the different regions of MacRPA1 on its inhibition of MacFEN1 endonuclease activity, N-terminal and C-terminal truncated derivatives of the protein were made and were biochemically and biophysically analyzed. Our results suggested that MacRPA1 derivatives with at least three OB folds maintained the properties required for inhibition of MacFEN1 endonuclease activity. Despite these interesting observations, further biochemical and genetic analyses are required to gain a deeper understanding of the physiological implications of our findings.
The integrity and propagation of the genome depend upon the fidelity of DNA processing events, such as replication, damage recognition, and repair. Requisite to the numerous biochemical tasks required for DNA processing is the generation and manipulation of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). As the primary eukaryotic ssDNA-binding protein, Replication Protein A (RPA) protects ssDNA templates from stray nuclease cleavage and untimely reannealment. More importantly, RPA also serves as a platform for organizing access to ssDNA for readout of the genetic code, recognition of aberrations in DNA, and processing by enzymes. We have proposed that RPA’s ability to adapt to such a broad spectrum of multiprotein machinery arises in part from its modular organization and interdomain flexibility. While requisite for function, RPA’s modular flexibility has presented many challenges to providing a detailed characterization of the dynamic architecture of the full-length protein. To enable the study of RPA’s interdomain dynamics and responses to ssDNA binding by biophysical methods including NMR spectroscopy, we have successfully produced recombinant full-length RPA in milligram quantities at natural abundance and enriched with NMR-active isotopes.
Replication Protein A; DNA processing; Protein modularity; Isotopic labeling; Recombinant expression; Protein purification; NMR spectroscopy
Replication Protein A (RPA), the heterotrimeric SSB of eukaryotes, contains four ssDNA binding domains (DBDs) within its two largest subunits, RPA1 and RPA2. We analyzed the contribution of the four DBDs to ssDNA binding affinity by assaying recombinant heterotrimeric RPA in which a single DBD (A, B, C or D) was inactive. Inactivation was accomplished by mutating the two conserved aromatic stacking residues present in each DBD. Using a short substrate, such as (dT)12, no stable interaction could be detected with RPA containing inactive domain A (RPA-A−) while the Kafor RPA-B− or RPA-C− was approximately one third that of wild type RPA. The Kaof RPA-D− was unaffected for substrates 12 to 23 nt in length, but was one third that of wild type RPA for substrates of 40 nt or more. Protein-DNA crosslinking confirms that domain A is essential for RPA to bind substrates of 12 nt or less and that DBD-D (RPA2) requires a minimum of 40 nt to interact with ssDNA. The data support a model in which domain A makes the initial contact with ssDNA, domains A, B, and C (in RPA1) contact substrates up to 23 nt in length, and RPA2 interacts with substrates of 40 - 60 nt.
Replication protein A (RPA) is a heterotrimeric protein consisting of RPA1, RPA2 and RPA3 subunits that binds to ssDNA with high affinity. The response to replication stress requires the recruitment of RPA and the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex. RPA bound to ssDNA stabilizes stalled replication forks by recruiting checkpoint proteins involved in fork stabilization. MRN can bind DNA structures encountered at stalled or collapsed replication forks, such as ssDNA-dsDNA junctions or breaks and promote the restart of DNA replication. Here, we demonstrate that RPA2 phosphorylation regulates the assembly of DNA damage-induced RPA and MRN foci. Using purified proteins, we observe a direct interaction between RPA with both NBS1 and MRE11. By utilizing RPA bound to ssDNA, we demonstrate that substituting RPA with phosphorylated RPA or a phosphomimetic decreases the interaction with the MRN complex. Also, the N-terminus of RPA1 is a critical component of the RPA-MRN protein-protein interaction. Deletion of the N-terminal oligonucleotide-oligosaccharide binding fold (OB-fold) of RPA1 abrogates RPA interactions with MRN and individual proteins of the MRN complex. Further identification of residues critical for MRN binding in the N-terminus of RPA1 show that substitution of Arg31 and Arg41 with alanines disrupts the RPA-MRN interaction and alters cell cycle progression in response to DNA damage. Thus, the N-terminus of RPA1 and phosphorylation of RPA2 regulate RPA-MRN interactions and are important in the response to DNA damage.
The single-stranded DNA-binding protein, Replication Protein A (RPA), is a heterotrimeric complex with subunits of 70, 32 and 14 kDa involved in DNA metabolism. RPA may be a target for cellular regulation; the 32 kDa subunit (RPA32) is phosphorylated by several cellular kinases including the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK). We have purified a mutant hRPA complex lacking amino acids 1-33 of RPA32 (rhRPA x 32delta1-33). This mutant bound ssDNA and supported DNA replication; however, rhRPA x 32delta1-33 was not phosphorylated under replication conditions or directly by DNA-PK. Proteolytic mapping revealed that all the sites phosphorylated by DNA-PK are contained on residues 1-33 of RPA32. When wild-type RPA was treated with DNA-PK and the mixture added to SV40 replication assays, DNA replication was supported. In contrast, when rhRPA x 32delta1-33 was treated with DNA-PK, DNA replication was strongly inhibited. Because untreated rhRPA x 32delta1-33 is fully functional, this suggests that the N-terminus of RPA is needed to overcome inhibitory effects of DNA-PK on other components of the DNA replication system. Thus, phosphorylation of RPA may modulate DNA replication indirectly, through interactions with other proteins whose activity is modulated by phosphorylation.
Halophilic archea (halobacteriae) thrive in hypersaline environments, avoiding osmotic shock by increasing the ion concentration of their cytoplasm by up to 3–6 M. To remain folded and active, their constitutive proteins have evolved towards a biased amino acid composition. High salt concentration affects catalytic activity in an enzyme-dependent way and a unified molecular mechanism remains elusive. Here, we have investigated a DNA ligase from Haloferax volcanii (Hv LigN) to show that K+ triggers catalytic activity by preferentially stabilising a specific conformation in the reaction coordinate. Sodium ions, in turn, do not populate such isoform and the enzyme remains inactive in the presence of this co-solute. Our results show that the halophilic amino acid signature enhances the enzyme's thermodynamic stability, with an indirect effect on its catalytic activity. This model has been successfully applied to reengineer Hv LigN into an enzyme that is catalytically active in the presence of NaCl.
To identify genomic regions involved in osmoregulation in the extremely halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii, we used a technique which involves hybridization of cDNAs obtained at different salinities against a cosmid library of the organism. Both low and high salt concentrations trigger differential expression; however, adaptation to low salinities seems to elicit a wider response. The presence of a large domain within the largest of the megaplasmids with a strong response to low salt concentrations is noteworthy.
To define the complete sRNA population of the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii, we employed high throughput sequencing. cDNAs were generated from RNA ranging in size from 17 to 500 nucleotides isolated from cells grown at three different conditions to exponential and stationary phase, respectively. Altogether, 145 intergenic and 45 antisense sRNAs were identified. Comparison of the expression profile showed different numbers of reads at the six different conditions for the majority of sRNAs. A striking difference in the number of sRNA reads was observed between cells grown under standard vs. low salt conditions. Furthermore, the six highest numbers of reads were found for low salt conditions. In contrast, only slight differences between sRNA reads at different growth temperatures were detected. Attempts to delete four sRNA genes revealed that one sRNA gene is essential. The three viable sRNA gene deletion mutants possessed distinct phenotypes. According to microarray analyses, the removal of the sRNA gene resulted in a profound change of the transcriptome when compared with the wild type. High throughput sequencing also showed the presence of high concentrations of tRNA derived fragments in H. volcanii. These tRF molecules were shown to have different amounts of reads at the six conditions analyzed. Northern analysis was used to confirm the presence of the tRNA-derived fragments.
Haloferax volcanii; archaea; high throughput sequencing; sRNAs; tRFs
By coupling the protection and organization of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) with recruitment and alignment of DNA processing factors, replication protein A (RPA) lies at the heart of dynamic multi-protein DNA processing machinery. Nevertheless, how RPA coordinates biochemical functions of its eight domains remains unknown. We examined the structural biochemistry of RPA’s DNA-binding activity, combining small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering with all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the architecture of RPA’s DNA-binding core. The scattering data reveal compaction promoted by DNA binding; DNA-free RPA exists in an ensemble of states with inter-domain mobility and becomes progressively more condensed and less dynamic on binding ssDNA. Our results contrast with previous models proposing RPA initially binds ssDNA in a condensed state and becomes more extended as it fully engages the substrate. Moreover, the consensus view that RPA engages ssDNA in initial, intermediate and final stages conflicts with our data revealing that RPA undergoes two (not three) transitions as it binds ssDNA with no evidence for a discrete intermediate state. These results form a framework for understanding how RPA integrates the ssDNA substrate into DNA processing machinery, provides substrate access to its binding partners and promotes the progression and selection of DNA processing pathways.
Replication Protein A (RPA) is the primary eukaryotic ssDNA binding protein utilized in diverse DNA transactions in the cell. RPA is a heterotrimeric protein with seven globular domains connected by flexible linkers, which enable substantial inter-domain motion that is essential to its function. Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments on two multi-domain constructs from the N-terminus of the large subunit (RPA70) were used to examine the structural dynamics of these domains and their response to the binding of ssDNA. The SAXS data combined with molecular dynamics simulations reveal substantial interdomain flexibility for both RPA70AB (the tandem high affinity ssDNA binding domains A and B connected by a 10-residue linker) and RPA70NAB (RPA70AB extended by a 70-residue linker to the RPA70N protein interaction domain). Binding of ssDNA to RPA70NAB reduces the interdomain flexibility between the A and B domains, but has no effect on RPA70N. These studies provide the first direct measurements of changes in orientation of these three RPA domains upon binding ssDNA. The results support a model in which RPA70N remains structurally independent of RPA70AB in the DNA bound state and therefore freely available to serve as a protein recruitment module.
All cellular single-stranded (ss) DNA is rapidly bound and stabilized by single stranded DNA-binding proteins (SSBs). Replication protein A, the main eukaryotic SSB, is able to unwind double-stranded (ds) DNA by binding and stabilizing transiently forming bubbles of ssDNA. Here, we study the dynamics of human RPA (hRPA) activity on topologically constrained dsDNA with single-molecule magnetic tweezers. We find that the hRPA unwinding rate is exponentially dependent on torsion present in the DNA. The unwinding reaction is self-limiting, ultimately removing the driving torsional stress. The process can easily be reverted: release of tension or the application of a rewinding torque leads to protein dissociation and helix rewinding. Based on the force and salt dependence of the in vitro kinetics we anticipate that the unwinding reaction occurs frequently in vivo. We propose that the hRPA unwinding reaction serves to protect and stabilize the dsDNA when it is structurally destabilized by mechanical stresses.
The nitrogen cycle (N-cycle), principally supported by prokaryotes, involves different redox reactions mainly focused on assimilatory purposes or respiratory processes for energy conservation. As the N-cycle has important environmental implications, this biogeochemical cycle has become a major research topic during the last few years. However, although N-cycle metabolic pathways have been studied extensively in Bacteria or Eukarya, relatively little is known in the Archaea. Halophilic Archaea are the predominant microorganisms in hot and hypersaline environments such as salted lakes, hot springs or salted ponds. Consequently, the denitrifying haloarchaea that sustain the nitrogen cycle under these conditions have emerged as an important target for research aimed at understanding microbial life in these extreme environments.
The haloarchaeon Haloferax mediterranei was isolated 20 years ago from Santa Pola salted ponds (Alicante, Spain). It was described as a denitrifier and it is also able to grow using NO3-, NO2- or NH4+ as inorganic nitrogen sources. This review summarizes the advances that have been made in understanding the N-cycle in halophilic archaea using Hfx mediterranei as a haloarchaeal model. The results obtained show that this microorganism could be very attractive for bioremediation applications in those areas where high salt, nitrate and nitrite concentrations are found in ground waters and soils.
With the availability of a genome sequence and increasingly sophisticated genetic tools, Haloferax volcanii is becoming a model for both Archaea and halophiles. In order for H. volcanii to reach a status equivalent to Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a gene knockout collection needs to be constructed in order to identify the archaeal essential gene set and enable systematic phenotype screens. A streamlined gene-deletion protocol adapted for potential automation was implemented and used to generate 22 H. volcanii deletion strains and identify several potentially essential genes. These gene deletion mutants, generated in this and previous studies, were then analyzed in a high-throughput fashion to measure growth rates in different media and temperature conditions. We conclude that these high-throughput methods are suitable for a rapid investigation of an H. volcanii mutant library and suggest that they should form the basis of a larger genome-wide experiment.
Research into archaea will not achieve its full potential until systems are in place to carry out genetics and biochemistry in the same species. Haloferax volcanii is widely regarded as the best-equipped organism for archaeal genetics, but the development of tools for the expression and purification of H. volcanii proteins has been neglected. We have developed a series of plasmid vectors and host strains for conditional overexpression of halophilic proteins in H. volcanii. The plasmids feature the tryptophan-inducible p.tnaA promoter and a 6×His tag for protein purification by metal affinity chromatography. Purification is facilitated by host strains, where pitA is replaced by the ortholog from Natronomonas pharaonis. The latter lacks the histidine-rich linker region found in H. volcanii PitA and does not copurify with His-tagged recombinant proteins. We also deleted the mrr restriction endonuclease gene, thereby allowing direct transformation without the need to passage DNA through an Escherichia coli dam mutant.
Replication protein A (RPA) is a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein involved in various processes, including nucleotide excision repair and DNA replication. The 32 kDa subunit of RPA (RPA32) is phosphorylated in response to various DNA-damaging agents, and two protein kinases, ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) have been implicated in DNA damage-induced phosphorylation of RPA32. However, the relative roles of ATM and DNA-PK in the site-specific DNA damage-induced phosphorylation of RPA32 have not been reported. Here we generated a phosphospecific antibody that recognizes Thr21-phosphorylated RPA32. We show that both DNA-PK and ATM phosphorylate RPA32 on Thr21 in vitro. Ionizing radiation (IR)-induced phosphorylation of RPA32 on Thr21 was defective in ATM-deficient cells, while camptothecin (CPT)-induced phosphorylation of RPA32 on Thr21 was defective in cells lacking functional DNA-PK. Neither ATM nor DNA-PK was required for etoposide (ETOP)-induced RPA32 Thr21 phosphorylation. However, two inhibitors of the ATM- and Rad3-related (ATR) protein kinase activity prevented ETOP-induced Thr21 phosphorylation. Inhibition of DNA replication prevented both the IR- and CPT-induced phosphorylation of Thr21, whereas ETOP-induced Thr21 phosphorylation did not require active DNA replication. Thus, the regulation of RPA32 Thr21 phosphorylation by multiple DNA damage response protein kinases suggests that Thr21 phosphorylation of RPA32 is a crucial step within the DNA damage response.
We have examined the single stranded DNA binding properties of the S. cerevisiae Replication Protein A (scRPA) using fluorescence titrations, isothermal titration calorimetry and sedimentation equilibrium in order to determine whether scRPA can bind to ssDNA in multiple binding modes. We measured the occluded site size for scRPA binding poly(dT), as well as the stoichiometry, equilibrium binding constants and binding enthalpy of scRPA-((dT)L) complexes as a function of oligodeoxynucleotide length, L. Sedimentation equilibrium studies show that scRPA is stable hetero-trimer over the range of [NaCl] examined (0.02 M to 1.5 M). However, the occluded site size, n, undergoes a salt-dependent transition between values of n=18−20 nucleotides at low [NaCl] to n=26−28 nucleotides at high [NaCl], with a transition midpoint near 0.36 M NaCl (25.0°C, pH 8.1). Measurements of the stoichiometry of scRPA-(dT)L complexes also show a [NaCl]-dependent change in stoichiometry consistent with the observed change in occluded site size. Measurements of the ΔHobs for scRPA binding to (dT)L at 1.5 M NaCl, yield a contact site size of 28 nucleotides, similar to the occluded site size determined at this [NaCl]. Altogether, these data support a model in which scRPA can bind to ssDNA in at least two binding modes, a low site size mode (n = 18 ± 1 nucleotides), stabilized at low [NaCl], in which only three of its OB-folds are used, and a higher site size mode (n = 27 ± 1 nucleotides), stabilized at higher [NaCl], which uses four of its OB-folds. No evidence for highly cooperative binding of scRPA to ssDNA was found either under any conditions examined. Thus, scRPA shows some similar behavior to the E. coli SSB homo-tetramer, which also shows binding mode transitions, but some significant differences also exist.
A proteomic survey of the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii was performed by comparative two-dimensional gel electrophoresis in order to determine the molecular effects of salt stress on the organism. Cells were grown under optimal (2.1 M) and high (3.5 M) NaCl conditions. From this analysis, over 44 protein spots responsive to these conditions were detected. These spots were excised, digested in-gel with trypsin, subjected to QSTAR tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) analysis, and identified by comparing the MS/MS-derived peptide sequence to that deduced from the H. volcanii genome. Approximately 40 % of the proteins detected (18 in total) displayed differential abundance based on the detection of at least two peptide fragments per protein and overall MOWSE scores of ⩾ 75 per protein. All of these identified proteins were either uniquely present or 2.3- to 26-fold higher in abundance under one condition compared to the other. The majority of proteins identified in this study were preferentially displayed under optimal salinity and primarily involved in translation, transport and metabolism. However, one protein of interest whose transcript levels were confirmed in these studies to be upregulated under high salt conditions was identified as a homologue of the phage shock protein PspA. The pspA gene belongs to the psp stress-responsive regulon commonly found among Gram-negative bacteria where its transcription is stimulated by a wide variety of stressors, including heat shock, osmotic shock and prolonged stationary-phase incubation. Homologues of PspA are also found among the genomes of cyanobacteria, higher plants and other Archaea, suggesting that this protein may retain some aspects of functional conservation across the three domains of life. Given its integral role in sensing a variety of membrane stressors in bacteria, these results suggest that PspA may play an important role in hypersaline adaptation in H. volcanii.