Characterization of the DNA- and dNTP-binding activities of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase catalytic subunit UL54.

Abstract:

The catalytic subunit of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase is critical for the replication of the virus. In the present study, we report the expression and purification of a recombinant catalytic subunit of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase expressed in bacteria which retains polymerase activity. As a first step towards elucidating the nature of the interaction between the enzyme, DNA and dNTPs, we have utilized endogenous tryptophan fluorescence to evaluate the binding of ligands to the enzyme. Using this technique, we demonstrate that the minimal DNA-binding site of the enzyme is 6 nt. We also report the first detailed study of the binding kinetics and thermodynamic parameters involved in the interaction between the enzyme, DNA and dNTPs. Our thermodynamic analyses indicate that the initial formation of the enzyme-DNA binary complex is driven by a favourable entropy change, but is also clearly associated with an unfavourable enthalpic contribution. In contrast, the interaction of dNTPs to the binary complex was shown to depend on a completely different mode of binding that is dominated by a favourable enthalpy change and associated with an unfavourable entropy change. In order to provide additional insights into the structural modifications that occur during catalysis, we correlated the effect of DNA and dNTP binding on protein structure using CD. Our results indicate that the enzyme undergoes a first conformational change upon the formation of the protein-DNA binary complex, which is followed by a second structural modification upon dNTP binding. The present study provides a better understanding of the molecular basis of DNA and dNTP recognition by the catalytic subunit of the human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase.

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