Sequential side-chain residue motions transform the binary into the ternary state of DNA polymerase lambda.

Abstract:

The nature of conformational transitions in DNA polymerase lambda (pol lambda), a low-fidelity DNA repair enzyme in the X-family that fills short nucleotide gaps, is investigated. Specifically, to determine whether pol lambda has an induced-fit mechanism and open-to-closed transition before chemistry, we analyze a series of molecular dynamics simulations from both the binary and ternary states before chemistry, with and without the incoming nucleotide, with and without the catalytic Mg(2+) ion in the active site, and with alterations in active site residues Ile(492) and Arg(517). Though flips occurred for several side-chain residues (Ile(492), Tyr(505), Phe(506)) in the active site toward the binary (inactive) conformation and partial DNA motion toward the binary position occurred without the incoming nucleotide, large-scale subdomain motions were not observed in any trajectory from the ternary complex regardless of the presence of the catalytic ion. Simulations from the binary state with incoming nucleotide exhibit more thumb subdomain motion, particularly in the loop containing beta-strand 8 in the thumb, but closing occurred only in the Ile(492)Ala mutant trajectory started from the binary state with incoming nucleotide and both ions. Further connections between active site residues and the DNA position are also revealed through our Ile(492)Ala and Arg(517)Ala mutant studies. Our combined studies suggest that while pol lambda does not demonstrate large-scale subdomain movements as DNA polymerase beta (pol beta), significant DNA motion exists, and there are sequential subtle side chain and other motions-associated with Arg(514), Arg(517), Ile(492), Phe(506), Tyr(505), the DNA, and again Arg(514) and Arg(517)-all coupled to active site divalent ions and the DNA motion. Collectively, these motions transform pol lambda to the chemistry-competent state. Significantly, analogs of these residues in pol beta (Lys(280), Arg(283), Arg(258), Phe(272), and Tyr(271), respectively) have demonstrated roles in determining enzyme efficiency and fidelity. As proposed for pol beta, motions of these residues may serve as gate-keepers by controlling the evolution of the reaction pathway before the chemical reaction.

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