Identification of an Unfolding Intermediate for a DNA Lesion Bypass Polymerase.

Abstract:

Sulfolobus solfataricus DNA Polymerase IV (Dpo4), a prototype Y-family DNA polymerase, has been well characterized biochemically and biophysically at 37 °C or lower temperatures. However, the physiological temperature of the hyperthermophile S. solfataricus is approximately 80 °C. With such a large discrepancy in temperature, the in vivo relevance of these in vitro studies of Dpo4 has been questioned. Here, we employed circular dichroism spectroscopy and fluorescence-based thermal scanning to investigate the secondary structural changes of Dpo4 over a temperature range from 26 to 119 °C. Dpo4 was shown to display a high melting temperature characteristic of hyperthermophiles. Unexpectedly, the Little Finger domain of Dpo4, which is only found in the Y-family DNA polymerases, was shown to be more thermostable than the polymerase core. More interestingly, Dpo4 exhibited a three-state cooperative unfolding profile with an unfolding intermediate. The linker region between the Little Finger and Thumb domains of Dpo4 was found to be a source of structural instability. Through site-directed mutagenesis, the interactions between the residues in the linker region and the Palm domain were identified to play a critical role in the formation of the unfolding intermediate. Notably, the secondary structure of Dpo4 was not altered when the temperature was increased from 26 to 87.5 °C. Thus, in addition to providing structural insights into the thermal stability and an unfolding intermediate of Dpo4, our work also validated the relevance of the in vitro studies of Dpo4 performed at temperatures significantly lower than 80 °C.

Polymerases:

Topics:

Structure and Structure/Function

Status:

new topics/pols set partial results complete validated

Results:

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