DNA and Chromosomes
- DNA helicases are motor proteins that couple the chemical energy of nucleoside triphosphate hydrolysis to the mechanical functions required for DNA unwinding. Studies of several helicases have identified strand-separating “pin” structures that are positioned to intercept incoming dsDNA and promote strand separation during helicase translocation. However, pin structures vary among helicases and it remains unclear whether they confer a conserved unwinding mechanism. Here, we tested the biochemical and cellular roles of a putative pin element within the Escherichia coli PriA DNA helicase.
- Collisions between DNA replication complexes (replisomes) and barriers such as damaged DNA or tightly bound protein complexes can dissociate replisomes from chromosomes prematurely. Replisomes must be reloaded under these circumstances to avoid incomplete replication and cell death. Bacteria have evolved multiple pathways that initiate DNA replication restart by recognizing and remodeling abandoned replication forks and reloading the replicative helicase. In vitro, the simplest of these pathways is mediated by the single-domain PriC protein, which, along with the DnaC helicase loader, can load the DnaB replicative helicase onto DNA bound by the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-binding protein (SSB).
- Single-stranded (ss) DNA-binding proteins (SSBs) bind and protect ssDNA intermediates formed during replication, recombination, and repair reactions. SSBs also directly interact with many different genome maintenance proteins to stimulate their enzymatic activities and/or mediate their proper cellular localization. We have identified an interaction formed between Escherichia coli SSB and ribonuclease HI (RNase HI), an enzyme that hydrolyzes RNA in RNA/DNA hybrids. The RNase HI·SSB complex forms by RNase HI binding the intrinsically disordered C terminus of SSB (SSB-Ct), a mode of interaction that is shared among all SSB interaction partners examined to date.