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1.  Functional mapping of the fission yeast DNA polymerase δ B-subunit Cdc1 by site-directed and random pentapeptide insertion mutagenesis 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:82.
Background
DNA polymerase δ plays an essential role in chromosomal DNA replication in eukaryotic cells, being responsible for synthesising the bulk of the lagging strand. In fission yeast, Pol δ is a heterotetrameric enzyme comprising four evolutionarily well-conserved proteins: the catalytic subunit Pol3 and three smaller subunits Cdc1, Cdc27 and Cdm1. Pol3 binds directly to the B-subunit, Cdc1, which in turn binds the C-subunit, Cdc27. Human Pol δ comprises the same four subunits, and the crystal structure was recently reported of a complex of human p50 and the N-terminal domain of p66, the human orthologues of Cdc1 and Cdc27, respectively.
Results
To gain insights into the structure and function of Cdc1, random and directed mutagenesis techniques were used to create a collection of thirty alleles encoding mutant Cdc1 proteins. Each allele was tested for function in fission yeast and for binding of the altered protein to Pol3 and Cdc27 using the two-hybrid system. Additionally, the locations of the amino acid changes in each protein were mapped onto the three-dimensional structure of human p50. The results obtained from these studies identify amino acid residues and regions within the Cdc1 protein that are essential for interaction with Pol3 and Cdc27 and for in vivo function. Mutations specifically defective in Pol3-Cdc1 interactions allow the identification of a possible Pol3 binding surface on Cdc1.
Conclusion
In the absence of a three-dimensional structure of the entire Pol δ complex, the results of this study highlight regions in Cdc1 that are vital for protein function in vivo and provide valuable clues to possible protein-protein interaction surfaces on the Cdc1 protein that will be important targets for further study.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-10-82
PMCID: PMC2734569  PMID: 19686603
2.  Biochemical characterisation of LigN, an NAD+-dependent DNA ligase from the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii that displays maximal in vitro activity at high salt concentrations 
Background
DNA ligases are required for DNA strand joining in all forms of cellular life. NAD+-dependent DNA ligases are found primarily in eubacteria but also in some eukaryotic viruses, bacteriophage and archaea. Among the archaeal NAD+-dependent DNA ligases is the LigN enzyme of the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, the gene for which was apparently acquired by Hfx.volcanii through lateral gene transfer (LGT) from a halophilic eubacterium. Genetic studies show that the LGT-acquired LigN enzyme shares an essential function with the native Hfx.volcanii ATP-dependent DNA ligase protein LigA.
Results
To characterise the enzymatic properties of the LigN protein, wild-type and three mutant forms of the LigN protein were separately expressed in recombinant form in E.coli and purified to apparent homogeneity by immobilised metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). Non-isotopic DNA ligase activity assays using λ DNA restriction fragments with 12 bp cos cohesive ends were used to show that LigN activity was dependent on addition of divalent cations and salt. No activity was detected in the absence of KCl, whereas maximum activity could be detected at 3.2 M KCl, close to the intracellular KCl concentration of Hfx.volcanii cells.
Conclusion
LigN is unique amongst characterised DNA ligase enzymes in displaying maximal DNA strand joining activity at high (> 3 M) salt levels. As such the LigN enzyme has potential both as a novel tool for biotechnology and as a model enzyme for studying the adaptation of proteins to high intracellular salt levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-44
PMCID: PMC1684257  PMID: 17132163
3.  Mapping and mutation of the conserved DNA polymerase interaction motif (DPIM) located in the C-terminal domain of fission yeast DNA polymerase δ subunit Cdc27 
Background
DNA polymerases α and δ play essential roles in the replication of chromosomal DNA in eukaryotic cells. DNA polymerase α (Pol α)-primase is required to prime synthesis of the leading strand and each Okazaki fragment on the lagging strand, whereas DNA polymerase δ (Pol δ) is required for the elongation stages of replication, a function it appears capable of performing on both leading and lagging strands, at least in the absence of DNA polymerase ε (Pol ε).
Results
Here it is shown that the catalytic subunit of Pol α, Pol1, interacts with Cdc27, one of three non-catalytic subunits of fission yeast Pol δ, both in vivo and in vitro. Pol1 interacts with the C-terminal domain of Cdc27, at a site distinct from the previously identified binding sites for Cdc1 and PCNA. Comparative protein sequence analysis identifies a protein sequence motif, called the DNA polymerase interaction motif (DPIM), in Cdc27 orthologues from a wide variety of eukaryotic species, including mammals. Mutational analysis shows that the DPIM in fission yeast Cdc27 is not required for effective DNA replication, repair or checkpoint function.
Conclusions
The absence of any detectable phenotypic consequences arising from mutation of the DPIM suggests that despite its evolutionary conservation, the interaction between the two polymerases mediated by this motif is a non-essential one.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-5-21
PMCID: PMC545490  PMID: 15579205

Results 1-3 (3)