Evidence against a simple tethering model for enhancement of herpes simplex virus DNA polymerase processivity by accessory protein UL42.

Abstract:

The DNA polymerase holoenzyme of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a stable heterodimer consisting of a catalytic subunit (Pol) and a processivity factor (UL42). HSV-1 UL42 differs from most DNA polymerase processivity factors in possessing an inherent ability to bind to double-stranded DNA. It has been proposed that UL42 increases the processivity of Pol by directly tethering it to the primer and template (P/T). To test this hypothesis, we took advantage of the different sensitivities of Pol and Pol/UL42 activities to ionic strength. Although the activity of Pol is inhibited by salt concentrations in excess of 50 mM KCl, the activity of the holoenzyme is relatively refractory to changes in ionic strength from 50 to 125 mM KCl. We used nitrocellulose filter-binding assays and real-time biosensor technology to measure binding affinities and dissociation rate constants of the individual subunits and holoenzyme for a short model P/T as a function of the ionic strength of the buffer. We found that as observed for activity, the binding affinity and dissociation rate constant of the Pol/UL42 holoenzyme for P/T were not altered substantially in high- versus low-ionic-strength buffer. In 50 mM KCl, the apparent affinity with which UL42 bound the P/T did not differ by more than twofold compared to that observed for Pol or Pol/UL42 in the same low-ionic-strength buffer. However, increasing the ionic strength dramatically decreased the affinity of UL42 for P/T, such that it was reduced more than 3 orders of magnitude from that of Pol/UL42 in 125 mM KCl. Real-time binding kinetics revealed that much of the reduced affinity could be attributable to an extremely rapid dissociation of UL42 from the P/T in high-ionic-strength buffer. The resistance of the activity, binding affinity, and stability of the holoenzyme for the model P/T to increases in ionic strength, despite the low apparent affinity and poor stability with which UL42 binds the model P/T in high concentrations of salt, suggests that UL42 does not simply tether the Pol to DNA. Instead, it is likely that conformational alterations induced by interaction of UL42 with Pol allow for high-affinity and high-stability binding of the holoenzyme to the P/T even under high-ionic-strength conditions.

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