Evaluation of the role of the vaccinia virus uracil DNA glycosylase and A20 proteins as intrinsic components of the DNA polymerase holoenzyme.


The vaccinia virus DNA polymerase is inherently distributive but acquires processivity by associating with a heterodimeric processivity factor comprised of the viral A20 and D4 proteins. D4 is also an enzymatically active uracil DNA glycosylase (UDG). The presence of an active repair protein as an essential component of the polymerase holoenzyme is a unique feature of the replication machinery. We have shown previously that the A20-UDG complex has a stoichiometry of ∼1:1, and our data suggest that A20 serves as a bridge between polymerase and UDG. Here we show that conserved hydrophobic residues in the N' terminus of A20 are important for its binding to UDG. Our data argue against the assembly of D4 into higher order multimers, suggesting that the processivity factor does not form a toroidal ring around the DNA. Instead, we hypothesize that the intrinsic, processive DNA scanning activity of UDG tethers the holoenzyme to the DNA template. The inclusion of UDG as an essential holoenzyme component suggests that replication and base excision repair may be coupled. Here we show that the DNA polymerase can utilize dUTP as a substrate in vitro. Moreover, uracil moieties incorporated into the nascent strand during holoenzyme-mediated DNA synthesis can be excised by the viral UDG present within this holoenzyme, leaving abasic sites. Finally, we show that the polymerase stalls upon encountering an abasic site in the template strand, indicating that, like many replicative polymerases, the poxviral holoenzyme cannot perform translesion synthesis across an abasic site.




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