Electrostatic field of the large fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I.


The electrostatic field of the large fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment) has been calculated by the finite difference procedure on a 2 A grid. The potential field is substantially negative at physiological pH (reflecting the net negative charge at this pH). The largest regions of positive potential are in the deep crevice of the C-terminal domain, which is the proposed binding site for the DNA substrate. Within the crevice, the electrostatic potential has a partly helical form. If the DNA is positioned to fulfil stereochemical requirements, then the positive potential generally follows the major groove and (to a lesser extent) the negative potential is in the minor groove. Such an arrangement could stabilize DNA configurations related by screw symmetry. The histidine residues of the Klenow fragment give the positive field of the groove a sensitivity to relatively small pH changes around neutrality. We suggest that the histidine residues could change their ionization states in response to DNA binding, and that this effect could contribute to the protein-DNA binding energy.




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