Structures of the phage Sf6 large terminase provide new insights into DNA translocation and cleavage.
ABSTRACT: Many DNA viruses use powerful molecular motors to cleave concatemeric viral DNA into genome-length units and package them into preformed procapsid powered by ATP hydrolysis. Here we report the structures of the DNA-packaging motor gp2 of bacteriophage Sf6, which reveal a unique clade of RecA-like ATPase domain and an RNase H-like nuclease domain tethered by a regulatory linker domain, exhibiting a strikingly distinct domain arrangement. The gp2 structures complexed with nucleotides reveal, at the atomic detail, the catalytic center embraced by the ATPase domain and the linker domain. The gp2 nuclease activity is modulated by the ATPase domain and is stimulated by ATP. An extended DNA-binding surface is formed by the linker domain and the nuclease domain. These results suggest a unique mechanism for translation of chemical reaction into physical motion of DNA and provide insights into coordination of DNA translocation and cleavage in a viral DNA-packaging motor, which may be achieved via linker-domain-mediated interdomain communication driven by ATP hydrolysis.
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:Genome packaging is a fundamental process in a viral life cycle and a prime target of antiviral drugs. Herpesviruses use an ATP-driven packaging motor/terminase complex to translocate and cleave concatemeric dsDNA into procapsids but its molecular architecture and mechanism are unknown. We report atomic structures of a herpesvirus hexameric terminase complex in both the apo and ADP•BeF3-bound states. Each subunit of the hexameric ring comprises three components-the ATPase/terminase pUL15 and two regulator/fixer proteins, pUL28 and pUL33-unlike bacteriophage terminases. Distal to the nuclease domains, six ATPase domains form a central channel with conserved basic-patches conducive to DNA binding and trans-acting arginine fingers are essential to ATP hydrolysis and sequential DNA translocation. Rearrangement of the nuclease domains mediated by regulatory domains converts DNA translocation mode to cleavage mode. Our structures favor a sequential revolution model for DNA translocation and suggest mechanisms for concerted domain rearrangements leading to DNA cleavage.
Project description:Terminase enzymes are common to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses and are responsible for packaging viral DNA into the confines of an empty capsid shell. In bacteriophage lambda the catalytic terminase subunit is gpA, which is responsible for maturation of the genome end prior to packaging and subsequent translocation of the matured DNA into the capsid. DNA packaging requires an ATPase catalytic site situated in the N terminus of the protein. A second ATPase catalytic site associated with the DNA maturation activities of the protein has been proposed; however, direct demonstration of this putative second site is lacking. Here we describe biochemical studies that define protease-resistant peptides of gpA and expression of these putative domains in Escherichia coli. Biochemical characterization of gpA-DeltaN179, a construct in which the N-terminal 179 residues of gpA have been deleted, indicates that this protein encompasses the DNA maturation domain of gpA. The construct is folded, soluble and possesses an ATP-dependent nuclease activity. Moreover, the construct binds and hydrolyzes ATP despite the fact that the DNA packaging ATPase site in the N terminus of gpA has been deleted. Mutation of lysine 497, which alters the conserved lysine in a predicted Walker A "P-loop" sequence, does not affect ATP binding but severely impairs ATP hydrolysis. Further, this mutation abrogates the ATP-dependent nuclease activity of the protein. These studies provide direct evidence for the elusive nucleotide-binding site in gpA that is directly associated with the DNA maturation activity of the protein. The implications of these results with respect to the two roles of the terminase holoenzyme, DNA maturation and DNA packaging, are discussed.
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:Packaging of viral genomes into preformed procapsids requires the controlled and synchronized activity of an ATPase and a genome-processing nuclease, both located in the large terminase (L-terminase) subunit. In this paper, we have characterized the structure and regulation of bacteriophage P22 L-terminase (gp2). Limited proteolysis reveals a bipartite organization consisting of an N-terminal ATPase core flexibly connected to a C-terminal nuclease domain. The 2.02 Å crystal structure of P22 headful nuclease obtained by in-drop proteolysis of full-length L-terminase (FL-L-terminase) reveals a central seven-stranded ?-sheet core that harbors two magnesium ions. Modeling studies with DNA suggest that the two ions are poised for two-metal ion-dependent catalysis, but the nuclease DNA binding surface is sterically hindered by a loop-helix (L(1)-?(2)) motif, which is incompatible with catalysis. Accordingly, the isolated nuclease is completely inactive in vitro, whereas it exhibits endonucleolytic activity in the context of FL-L-terminase. Deleting the autoinhibitory L(1)-?(2) motif (or just the loop L(1)) restores nuclease activity to a level comparable with FL-L-terminase. Together, these results suggest that the activity of P22 headful nuclease is regulated by intramolecular cross-talk with the N-terminal ATPase domain. This cross-talk allows for precise and controlled cleavage of DNA that is essential for genome packaging.
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:DNA packaging in tailed bacteriophages and other viruses requires assembly of a complex molecular machine at a specific vertex of the procapsid. This machine is composed of the portal protein that provides a tunnel for DNA entry, an ATPase that fuels DNA translocation (large terminase subunit), and most frequently, a small terminase subunit. Here we characterized the interaction between the terminase ATPase subunit of bacteriophage SPP1 (gp2) and the procapsid portal vertex. We found, by affinity pulldown assays with purified proteins, that gp2 interacts with the portal protein, gp6, independently of the terminase small subunit gp1, DNA, or ATP. The gp2-procapsid interaction via the portal protein depends on gp2 concentration and requires the presence of divalent cations. Competition experiments showed that isolated gp6 can only inhibit gp2-procapsid interactions and DNA packaging at gp6:procapsid molar ratios above 10-fold. Assays with gp6 carrying mutations in distinct regions of its structure that affect the portal-induced stimulation of ATPase and DNA packaging revealed that none of these mutations impedes gp2-gp6 binding. Our results demonstrate that the SPP1 packaging ATPase binds directly to the portal and that the interaction is stronger with the portal embedded in procapsids. Identification of mutations in gp6 that allow for assembly of the ATPase-portal complex but impair DNA packaging support an intricate cross-talk between the two proteins for activity of the DNA translocation motor.
Project description:Double-stranded DNA viruses use ATP-powered molecular motors to package their genomic DNA. To ensure efficient genome encapsidation, these motors regulate functional transitions between initiation, translocation, and termination modes. Here, we report structural and biophysical analyses of the C-terminal domain of the bacteriophage phi29 ATPase (CTD) that suggest a structural basis for these functional transitions. Sedimentation experiments show that the inter-domain linker in the full-length protein promotes oligomerization and thus may play a role in assembly of the functional motor. The NMR solution structure of the CTD indicates it is a vestigial nuclease domain that likely evolved from conserved nuclease domains in phage terminases. Despite the loss of nuclease activity, fluorescence binding assays confirm the CTD retains its DNA binding capabilities and fitting the CTD into cryoEM density of the phi29 motor shows that the CTD directly binds DNA. However, the interacting residues differ from those identified by NMR titration in solution, suggesting that packaging motors undergo conformational changes to transition between initiation, translocation, and termination. Taken together, these results provide insight into the evolution of functional transitions in viral dsDNA packaging motors.
Project description:Communication between Mre11 and Rad50 in the MR complex is critical for the sensing, damage signaling, and repair of DNA double-strand breaks. To understand the basis for interregulation between Mre11 and Rad50, we determined the crystal structure of the Mre11-Rad50-ATP?S complex. Mre11 brings the two Rad50 molecules into close proximity and promotes ATPase activity by (1) holding the coiled-coil arm of Rad50 through its C-terminal domain, (2) stabilizing the signature motif and P loop of Rad50 via its capping domain, and (3) forming a dimer through the nuclease domain. ATP-bound Rad50 negatively regulates the nuclease activity of Mre11 by blocking the active site of Mre11. Hydrolysis of ATP disengages Rad50 molecules, and, concomitantly, the flexible linker that connects the C-terminal domain and the capping domain of Mre11 undergoes substantial conformational change to relocate Rad50 and unmask the active site of Mre11. Our structural and biochemical data provide insights into understanding the interplay between Mre11 and Rad50 to facilitate efficient DNA damage repair.
Project description:OLD family nucleases contain an N-terminal ATPase domain and a C-terminal Toprim domain. Homologs segregate into two classes based on primary sequence length and the presence/absence of a unique UvrD/PcrA/Rep-like helicase gene immediately downstream in the genome. Although we previously defined the catalytic machinery controlling Class 2 nuclease cleavage, degenerate conservation of the C-termini between classes precludes pinpointing the analogous residues in Class 1 enzymes by sequence alignment alone. Our Class 2 structures also provide no information on ATPase domain architecture and ATP hydrolysis. Here we present the full-length structure of the Class 1 OLD nuclease from Thermus scotoductus (Ts) at 2.20 Å resolution, which reveals a dimerization domain inserted into an N-terminal ABC ATPase fold and a C-terminal Toprim domain. Structural homology with genome maintenance proteins identifies conserved residues responsible for Ts OLD ATPase activity. Ts OLD lacks the C-terminal helical domain present in Class 2 OLD homologs yet preserves the spatial organization of the nuclease active site, arguing that OLD proteins use a conserved catalytic mechanism for DNA cleavage. We also demonstrate that mutants perturbing ATP hydrolysis or DNA cleavage in vitro impair P2 OLD-mediated killing of recBC-Escherichia coli hosts, indicating that both the ATPase and nuclease activities are required for OLD function in vivo.