A water-mediated and substrate-assisted catalytic mechanism for Sulfolobus solfataricus DNA polymerase IV.


DNA polymerases are enzymes responsible for the synthesis of DNA from ...
DNA polymerases are enzymes responsible for the synthesis of DNA from nucleotides. Understanding their molecular fundamentals is a prerequisite for elucidating their aberrant activities in diseases such as cancer. Here we have carried out ab initio quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) studies on the nucleotidyl-transfer reaction catalyzed by the lesion-bypass DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) from Sulfolobus solfataricus, with template guanine and Watson-Crick paired dCTP as the nascent base pair. The results suggested a novel water-mediated and substrate-assisted (WMSA) mechanism: the initial proton transfer to the alpha-phosphate of the substrate via a bridging crystal water molecule is the rate-limiting step, the nucleotidyl-transfer step is associative with a metastable pentacovalent phosphorane intermediate, and the pyrophosphate leaving is facilitated by a highly coordinated proton relay mechanism through mediation of water which neutralizes the evolving negative charge. The conserved carboxylates, which retain their liganding to the two Mg2+ ions during the reaction process, are found to be essential in stabilizing transition states. This WMSA mechanism takes specific advantage of the unique structural features of this low-fidelity lesion-bypass Y-family polymerase, which has a more spacious and solvent-exposed active site than replicative and repair polymerases.



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