Portal-large terminase interactions of the bacteriophage T4 DNA packaging machine implicate a molecular lever mechanism for coupling ATPase to DNA translocation.
ABSTRACT: DNA packaging by double-stranded DNA bacteriophages and herpesviruses is driven by a powerful molecular machine assembled at the portal vertex of the empty prohead. The phage T4 packaging machine consists of three components: dodecameric portal (gp20), pentameric large terminase motor (gp17), and 11- or 12-meric small terminase (gp16). These components dynamically interact and orchestrate a complex series of reactions to produce a DNA-filled head containing one viral genome per head. Here, we analyzed the interactions between the portal and motor proteins using a direct binding assay, mutagenesis, and structural analyses. Our results show that a portal binding site is located in the ATP hydrolysis-controlling subdomain II of gp17. Mutations at key residues of this site lead to temperature-sensitive or null phenotypes. A conserved helix-turn-helix (HLH) that is part of this site interacts with the portal. A recombinant HLH peptide competes with gp17 for portal binding and blocks DNA translocation. The helices apparently provide specificity to capture the cognate prohead, whereas the loop residues communicate the portal interaction to the ATPase center. These observations lead to a hypothesis in which a unique HLH-portal interaction in the symmetrically mismatched complex acts as a lever to position the arginine finger and trigger ATP hydrolysis. Transiently connecting the critical parts of the motor; subdomain I (ATP binding), subdomain II (controlling ATP hydrolysis), and C-domain (DNA movement), the portal-motor interactions might ensure tight coupling between ATP hydrolysis and DNA translocation.
Project description:Bacteriophage ATP-based packaging motors translocate DNA into a pre-formed prohead through a dodecameric portal ring channel to high density. We investigated portal-terminase docking interactions at specifically localized residues within a terminase-interaction region (aa279-316) in the phage T4 portal protein gp20 equated to the clip domain of the SPP1 portal crystal structure by 3D modeling. Within this region, three residues allowed A to C mutations whereas three others did not, consistent with informatics analyses showing the tolerated residues are not strongly conserved evolutionarily. About 7.5nm was calculated by FCS-FRET studies employing maleimide Alexa488 dye labeled A316C proheads and gp17 CT-ReAsH supporting previous work docking the C-terminal end of the T4 terminase (gp17) closer to the N-terminal GFP-labeled portal (gp20) than the N-terminal end of the terminase. Such a terminase-portal orientation fits better to a proposed "DNA crunching" compression packaging motor and to portal determined DNA headful cutting.
Project description:Tailed bacteriophages and herpes viruses use powerful molecular motors to translocate DNA into a preassembled prohead and compact the DNA to near crystalline density. The phage T4 motor, a pentamer of 70-kDa large terminase, gp17, is the fastest and most powerful motor reported to date. gp17 has an ATPase activity that powers DNA translocation and a nuclease activity that cuts concatemeric DNA and generates the termini of viral genome. An 18-kDa small terminase, gp16, is also essential, but its role in DNA packaging is poorly understood. gp16 forms oligomers, most likely octamers, exhibits no enzymatic activities, but stimulates the gp17-ATPase activity, and inhibits the nuclease activity. Extensive mutational and biochemical analyses show that gp16 contains three domains, a central oligomerization domain, and N- and C-terminal domains that are essential for ATPase stimulation. Stimulation occurs not by nucleotide exchange or enhanced ATP binding but by triggering hydrolysis of gp17-bound ATP, a mechanism reminiscent of GTPase-activating proteins. gp16 does not have an arginine finger but its interaction with gp17 seems to position a gp17 arginine finger into the catalytic pocket. gp16 inhibits DNA translocation when gp17 is associated with the prohead. gp16 restricts gp17-nuclease such that the putative packaging initiation cut is made but random cutting is inhibited. These results suggest that the phage T4 packaging machine consists of a motor (gp17) and a regulator (gp16). The gp16 regulator is essential to coordinate the gp17 motor ATPase, translocase, and nuclease activities, otherwise it could be suicidal to the virus.
Project description:Tailed bacteriophages use powerful molecular motors to package the viral genome into a preformed capsid. Packaging at a rate of up to ?2000 bp/s and generating a power density twice that of an automobile engine, the phage T4 motor is the fastest and most powerful reported to date. Central to DNA packaging are dynamic interactions among the packaging components, capsid (gp23), portal (gp20), motor (gp17, large "terminase"), and regulator (gp16, small terminase), leading to precise orchestration of the packaging process, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we analyzed the interactions between small and large terminases of T4-related phages. Our results show that the gp17 packaging ATPase is maximally stimulated by homologous, but not heterologous, gp16. Multiple interaction sites are identified in both gp16 and gp17. The specificity determinants in gp16 are clustered in the diverged N- and C-terminal domains (regions I-III). Swapping of diverged region(s), such as replacing C-terminal RB49 region III with that of T4, switched ATPase stimulation specificity. Two specificity regions, amino acids 37-52 and 290-315, are identified in or near the gp17-ATPase "transmission" subdomain II. gp16 binding at these sites might cause a conformational change positioning the ATPase-coupling residues into the catalytic pocket, triggering ATP hydrolysis. These results lead to a model in which multiple weak interactions between motor and regulator allow dynamic assembly and disassembly of various packaging complexes, depending on the functional state of the packaging machine. This might be a general mechanism for regulation of the phage packaging machine and other complex molecular machines.
Project description:Tailed bacteriophages and herpes viruses use powerful ATP-driven molecular motors to translocate their viral genomes into a preformed capsid shell. The bacteriophage T4 motor, a pentamer of the large terminase protein (gp17) assembled at the portal vertex of the prohead, is the fastest and most powerful known, consistent with the need to package a ~170-kb viral genome in approximately 5 min. Although much is known about the mechanism of DNA translocation, very little is known about how ATP modulates motor-DNA interactions. Here, we report single-molecule measurements of the phage T4 gp17 motor by using dual-trap optical tweezers under different conditions of perturbation. Unexpectedly, the motor pauses randomly when ATP is limiting, for an average of 1 s, and then resumes translocation. During pausing, DNA is unpackaged, a phenomenon so far observed only in T4, where some of the packaged DNA is slowly released. We propose that the motor pauses whenever it encounters a subunit in the apo state with the DNA bound weakly and incorrectly. Pausing allows the subunit to capture ATP, whereas unpackaging allows scanning of DNA until a correct registry is established. Thus, the "pause-unpackaging" state is an off-translocation recovery state wherein the motor, sometimes by taking a few steps backward, can bypass the impediments encountered along the translocation path. These results lead to a four-state mechanochemical model that provides insights into the mechanisms of translocation of an intricately branched concatemeric viral genome.
Project description:During bacteriophage morphogenesis DNA is translocated into a preformed prohead by the complex formed by the portal protein, or connector, plus the terminase, which are located at an especial prohead vertex. The terminase is a powerful motor that converts ATP hydrolysis into mechanical movement of the DNA. Here, we have determined the structure of the T7 large terminase by electron microscopy. The five terminase subunits assemble in a toroid that encloses a channel wide enough to accommodate dsDNA. The structure of the complete connector-terminase complex is also reported, revealing the coupling between the terminase and the connector forming a continuous channel. The structure of the terminase assembled into the complex showed a different conformation when compared with the isolated terminase pentamer. To understand in molecular terms the terminase morphological change, we generated the terminase atomic model based on the crystallographic structure of its phage T4 counterpart. The docking of the threaded model in both terminase conformations showed that the transition between the two states can be achieved by rigid body subunit rotation in the pentameric assembly. The existence of two terminase conformations and its possible relation to the sequential DNA translocation may shed light into the molecular bases of the packaging mechanism of bacteriophage T7.
Project description:Conserved bacteriophage ATP-based DNA translocation motors consist of a multimeric packaging terminase docked onto a unique procapsid vertex containing a portal ring. DNA is translocated into the empty procapsid through the portal ring channel to high density. In vivo the T4 phage packaging motor deals with Y- or X-structures in the replicative concatemer substrate by employing a portal-bound Holliday junction resolvase that trims and releases these DNA roadblocks to packaging. Here using dye-labeled packaging anchored 3.7-kb Y-DNAs or linear DNAs, we demonstrate FRET between the dye-labeled substrates and GFP portal-containing procapsids and between GFP portal and single dye-labeled terminases. We show using FRET-fluorescence correlation spectroscopy that purified T4 gp49 endonuclease VII resolvase can release DNA compression in vitro in prohead portal packaging motor anchored and arrested Y-DNA substrates. In addition, using active terminases labeled at the N- and C-terminal ends with a single dye molecule, we show by FRET distance of the N-terminal GFP-labeled portal protein containing prohead at 6.9 nm from the N terminus and at 5.7 nm from the C terminus of the terminase. Packaging with a C-terminal fluorescent terminase on a GFP portal prohead, FRET shows a reduction in distance to the GFP portal of 0.6 nm in the arrested Y-DNA as compared with linear DNA; the reduction is reversed by resolvase treatment. Conformational changes in both the motor proteins and the DNA substrate itself that are associated with the power stroke of the motor are consistent with a proposed linear motor employing a terminal-to-portal DNA grip-and-release mechanism.
Project description:In genome packaging by tailed bacteriophages and herpesviruses, a concatemeric DNA is cut and inserted into an empty procapsid. A series of cuts follow the encapsidation of each unit-length 'headful' genome, but the mechanisms by which cutting is coupled to packaging are not understood. Here we report the first biochemical characterization of a headful nuclease from bacteriophage T4. Our results show that the T4 nuclease, which resides in the C-terminal domain of large 'terminase' gp17, is a weak endonuclease and regulated by a variety of factors; Mg, NaCl, ATP, small terminase gp16 and N-terminal ATPase domain. The small terminase, which stimulates gp17-ATPase, also stimulates nuclease in the presence of ATP but inhibits in the absence of ATP suggesting interdomain crosstalk. Comparison of the 'relaxed' and 'tensed' states of the motor show that a number of basic residues lining the nuclease groove are positioned to interact with DNA in the tensed state but change their positions in the relaxed state. These results suggest that conformational changes in the ATPase center remodel the nuclease center via an interdomain 'communication track'. This might be a common regulatory mechanism for coupling DNA cutting to DNA packaging among the headful packaging nucleases from dsDNA viruses.
Project description:Packaging of viral genomes into empty procapsids is powered by a large DNA-packaging motor. In most viruses, this machine is composed of a large (L) and a small (S) terminase subunit complexed with a dodecamer of portal protein. Here we describe the 1.75 Å crystal structure of the bacteriophage P22 S-terminase in a nonameric conformation. The structure presents a central channel ?23 Å in diameter, sufficiently large to accommodate hydrated B-DNA. The last 23 residues of S-terminase are essential for binding to DNA and assembly to L-terminase. Upon binding to its own DNA, S-terminase functions as a specific activator of L-terminase ATPase activity. The DNA-dependent stimulation of ATPase activity thus rationalizes the exclusive specificity of genome-packaging motors for viral DNA in the crowd of host DNA, ensuring fidelity of packaging and avoiding wasteful ATP hydrolysis. This posits a model for DNA-dependent activation of genome-packaging motors of general interest in virology.
Project description:The large terminase subunit is a central component of the genome packaging motor from tailed bacteriophages and herpes viruses. This two-domain enzyme has an N-terminal ATPase activity that fuels DNA translocation during packaging and a C-terminal nuclease activity required for initiation and termination of the packaging cycle. Here, we report that bacteriophage SPP1 large terminase (gp2) is a metal-dependent nuclease whose stability and activity are strongly and preferentially enhanced by Mn(2+) ions. Mutation of conserved residues that coordinate Mn(2+) ions in the nuclease catalytic site affect the metal-induced gp2 stabilization and impair both gp2-specific cleavage at the packaging initiation site pac and unspecific nuclease activity. Several of these mutations block also DNA encapsidation without affecting ATP hydrolysis or gp2 C-terminus binding to the procapsid portal vertex. The data are consistent with a mechanism in which the nuclease domain bound to the portal switches between nuclease activity and a coordinated action with the ATPase domain for DNA translocation. This switch of activities of the nuclease domain is critical to achieve the viral chromosome packaging cycle.
Project description:Motors generating mechanical force, powered by the hydrolysis of ATP, translocate double-stranded DNA into preformed capsids (proheads) of bacterial viruses and certain animal viruses. Here we describe the motor that packages the double-stranded DNA of the Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage phi29 into a precursor capsid. We determined the structure of the head-tail connector--the central component of the phi29 DNA packaging motor--to 3.2 A resolution by means of X-ray crystallography. We then fitted the connector into the electron densities of the prohead and of the partially packaged prohead as determined using cryo-electron microscopy and image reconstruction analysis. Our results suggest that the prohead plus dodecameric connector, prohead RNA, viral ATPase and DNA comprise a rotary motor with the head-prohead RNA-ATPase complex acting as a stator, the DNA acting as a spindle, and the connector as a ball-race. The helical nature of the DNA converts the rotary action of the connector into translation of the DNA.