Structural basis for DNA recognition and loading into a viral packaging motor.

York Structural Biology Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 12/2011; 109(3):811-6. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1110270109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genome packaging into preformed viral procapsids is driven by powerful molecular motors. The small terminase protein is essential for the initial recognition of viral DNA and regulates the motor's ATPase and nuclease activities during DNA translocation. The crystal structure of a full-length small terminase protein from the Siphoviridae bacteriophage SF6, comprising the N-terminal DNA binding, the oligomerization core, and the C-terminal β-barrel domains, reveals a nine-subunit circular assembly in which the DNA-binding domains are arranged around the oligomerization core in a highly flexible manner. Mass spectrometry analysis and four further crystal structures show that, although the full-length protein exclusively forms nine-subunit assemblies, protein constructs missing the C-terminal β-barrel form both nine-subunit and ten-subunit assemblies, indicating the importance of the C terminus for defining the oligomeric state. The mechanism by which a ring-shaped small terminase oligomer binds viral DNA has not previously been elucidated. Here, we probed binding in vitro by using EPR and surface plasmon resonance experiments, which indicated that interaction with DNA is mediated exclusively by the DNA-binding domains and suggested a nucleosome-like model in which DNA binds around the outside of the protein oligomer.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The SaPIs and their relatives are a family of genomic islands that exploit helper phages for high frequency horizontal transfer. One of the mechanisms used by SaPIs to accomplish this molecular piracy is the redirection of the helper phage DNA packaging machinery. SaPIs encode a small terminase subunit that can be substituted for that of the phage. In this study we have determined the initial packaging cleavage sites for helper phage 80α, which uses the phage-encoded small terminase subunit, and for SaPI1, which uses the SaPI-encoded small terminase subunit. We have identified a 19 nt SaPI1 sequence that is necessary and sufficient to allow high frequency 80 transduction of a plasmid by a terminase carrying the SaPI1-encoded small subunit. We also show that the hybrid enzyme with the SaPI1 small terminase subunit is capable of generalized transduction.
    Plasmid 12/2013; · 1.76 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The tailed double-stranded DNA bacteriophages, or Caudovirales, constitute ~96% of all the known phages. Although these phages come in a great variety of sizes and morphology, their virions are mainly constructed of similar molecular building blocks via similar assembly pathways. Here we review the structure of tailed double-stranded DNA bacteriophages at a molecular level, emphasizing the structural similarity and common evolutionary origin of proteins that constitute these virions.
    Bacteriophage 01/2014; 4(1):e28281.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Bacteriophage T5 represents a large family of lytic Siphoviridae infecting gram-negative bacteria. The low-resolution structure of T5 showed the T =13 geometry of the capsid and the unusual trimeric organization of the tail tube, and the assembly pathway of the capsid was established. Although major structural proteins of T5 have been identified in these studies, most of the genes encoding the morphogenesis proteins remained to be identified. Here, we combine a proteomic analysis of T5 particles with a bioinformatic study and electron microscopic immunolocalization to assign function to the genes encoding the structural proteins, the packaging proteins and other non-structural components required for T5 assembly. A head maturation protease is identified that likely accounts for the cleavage of the different capsid protein components. Two other proteins involved in capsid maturation add originality to the T5 capsid assembly mechanism: the single head-to-tail joining protein, which closes the T5 capsid after DNA packaging, and the nicking endonuclease responsible for the single strand interruptions in the T5 genome. We localize most of the tail proteins that were hitherto uncharacterized and provide a detailed description of the tail tip composition. Our findings highlight novel variations of viral assembly strategies and of virion particle architecture. They further recommend T5 to explore phage structure and assembly and to decipher conformational rearrangements that accompany DNA transfer from the capsid to the host cytoplasm.
    Journal of Virology 11/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 22, 2014