The C-terminal domain of the bacteriophage T4 terminase docks on the prohead portal clip region during DNA packaging.
ABSTRACT: 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 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: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: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: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:Phage DNA packaging is believed to be driven by a rotary device coupled to an ATPase 'motor'. Recent evidence suggests that the phage DNA packaging motor is one of the strongest force-generating molecular motors reported to date. However, the ATPase center that is responsible for generating this force is unknown. In order to identify the DNA translocating ATPase, the sequences of the packaging/terminase genes of coliphages T4 and RB49 and vibriophages KVP40 and KVP20 have been analyzed. Alignment of the terminase polypeptide sequences revealed a number of functional signatures in the terminase genes 16 and 17. Most importantly, the data provide compelling evidence for an ATPase catalytic center in the N-terminal half of the large terminase subunit gp17. An analogous ATPase domain consisting of conserved functional signatures is also identified in the large terminase subunit of other bacteriophages and herpesviruses. Interestingly, the putative terminase ATPase domain exhibits some of the common features found in the ATPase domain of DEAD box helicases. Residues that would be critical for ATPase catalysis and its coupling to DNA packaging are identified. Com binatorial mutagenesis shows that the predicted threonine residues in the putative ATPase coupling motif are indeed critical for function.
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:The structure and assembly of bacteriophage T4 has been extensively studied. However, the detailed structure of the portal protein remained unknown. Here we report the structure of the bacteriophage T4 portal assembly, gene product 20 (gp20), determined by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to 3.6 Å resolution. In addition, analysis of a 10 Å resolution cryo-EM map of an empty prolate T4 head shows how the dodecameric portal assembly interacts with the capsid protein gp23 at the special pentameric vertex. The gp20 structure also verifies that the portal assembly is required for initiating head assembly, for attachment of the packaging motor, and for participation in DNA packaging. Comparison of the Myoviridae T4 portal structure with the known portal structures of φ29, SPP1 and P22, representing Podo- and Siphoviridae, shows that the portal structure probably dates back to a time when self-replicating microorganisms were being established on Earth.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the prototypic member of herpesviruses, employs a virally encoded molecular machine called terminase to package the viral double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome into a preformed protein shell. The terminase contains a large subunit that is thought to cleave concatemeric viral DNA during the packaging initiation and completion of each packaging cycle and supply energy to the packaging process via ATP hydrolysis. We have determined the X-ray structure of the C-terminal domain of the terminase large-subunit pUL15 (pUL15C) from HSV-1. The structure shows a fold resembling those of bacteriophage terminases, RNase H, integrases, DNA polymerases, and topoisomerases, with an active site clustered with acidic residues. Docking analysis reveals a DNA-binding surface surrounded by flexible loops, indicating considerable conformational changes upon DNA binding. In vitro assay shows that pUL15C possesses non-sequence-specific, Mg(2+)-dependent nuclease activity. These results suggest that pUL15 uses an RNase H-like, metal ion-mediated catalysis mechanism for cleavage of viral concatemeric DNA. The structure reveals extra structural elements in addition to the RNase H-like fold core and variations in local architecture of the nuclease active site, which are conserved in herpesvirus terminases and bear great similarity to the phage T4 gp17 but are distinct from podovirus and siphovirus orthologs and cellular RNase H, delineating a new evolutionary lineage among a large family of eukaryotic viruses and simple and complex prokaryotic viruses.
Project description:The DNA-packaging motor in tailed bacteriophages requires nuclease activity to ensure that the genome is packaged correctly. This nuclease activity is tightly regulated as the enzyme is inactive for the duration of DNA translocation. Here, we report the X-ray structure of the large terminase nuclease domain from bacteriophage SPP1. Similarity with the RNase H family endonucleases allowed interactions with the DNA to be predicted. A structure-based alignment with the distantly related T4 gp17 terminase shows the conservation of an extended beta-sheet and an auxiliary beta-hairpin that are not found in other RNase H family proteins. The model with DNA suggests that the beta-hairpin partly blocks the active site, and in vivo activity assays show that the nuclease domain is not functional in the absence of the ATPase domain. Here, we propose that the nuclease activity is regulated by movement of the beta-hairpin, altering active site access and the orientation of catalytically essential residues.
Project description:Tailed bacteriophages and herpes viruses use powerful molecular machines to package their genomes. The packaging machine consists of three components: portal, motor (large terminase; TerL) and regulator (small terminase; TerS). Portal, a dodecamer, and motor, a pentamer, form two concentric rings at the special five-fold vertex of the icosahedral capsid. Powered by ATPase, the motor ratchets DNA into the capsid through the portal channel. TerS is essential for packaging, particularly for genome recognition, but its mechanism is unknown and controversial. Structures of gear-shaped TerS rings inspired models that invoke DNA threading through the central channel. Here, we report that mutations of basic residues that line phage T4 TerS (gp16) channel do not disrupt DNA binding. Even deletion of the entire channel helix retained DNA binding and produced progeny phage in vivo On the other hand, large oligomers of TerS (11-mers/12-mers), but not small oligomers (trimers to hexamers), bind DNA. These results suggest that TerS oligomerization creates a large outer surface, which, but not the interior of the channel, is critical for function, probably to wrap viral genome around the ring during packaging initiation. Hence, models involving TerS-mediated DNA threading may be excluded as an essential mechanism for viral genome packaging.