Mechanism of stimulation of DNA replication by bacteriophage phi 29 single-stranded DNA-binding protein p5.

Abstract:

Protein p5 is a Bacillus subtilis phage phi 29-encoded protein required for phi 29 DNA replication in vivo. Protein p5 has single-stranded DNA binding (SSB) capacity and stimulates in vitro DNA replication severalfold when phi 29 DNA polymerase is used to replicate either the natural phi 29 DNA template or primed M13 single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). Furthermore, other SSB proteins, including Escherichia coli SSB, T4 gp32, adenovirus DNA-binding protein, and human replication factor A, can functionally substitute for protein p5. The stimulatory effect of phi 29 protein p5 is not due to an increase of the DNA replication rate. When both phi 29 DNA template and M13 competitor ssDNA are added simultaneously to the replication reaction, phi 29 DNA replication is strongly inhibited. This inhibition is fully overcome by adding protein p5, suggesting that protein p5-coated M13 ssDNA is no longer able to compete for replication factors, probably phi 29 DNA polymerase, which has a strong affinity for ssDNA. Electron microscopy demonstrates that protein p5 binds to M13 ssDNA forming saturated complexes with a smoothly contoured appearance and producing a 2-fold reduction of the DNA length. Protein p5 also binds to ssDNA in the phi 29 replicative intermediates produced in vitro, which are similar in structure to those observed in vivo. Our results strongly suggest that phi 29 protein p5 is the phi 29 SSB protein active during phi 29 DNA replication.

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