M Todd Washington

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, United States

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Publications (43)307.92 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During DNA replication, mismatches and small loops in the DNA resulting from insertions or deletions are repaired by the mismatch repair (MMR) machinery. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) plays an important role in both mismatch-recognition and resynthesis stages of MMR. Previously, two mutant forms of PCNA were identified that cause defects in MMR with little, if any, other defects. The C22Y mutant PCNA protein completely blocks MutSα-dependent MMR, and the C81R mutant PCNA protein partially blocks both MutSα-dependent and MutSβ-dependent MMR. In order to understand the structural and mechanistic basis by which these two amino acid substitutions in PCNA proteins block MMR, we solved the X-ray crystal structures of both mutant proteins and carried out further biochemical studies. We found that these amino acid substitutions lead to subtle, distinct structural changes in PCNA. The C22Y substitution alters the positions of the α-helices lining the central hole of the PCNA ring, whereas the C81R substitution creates a distortion in an extended loop near the PCNA subunit interface. We conclude that the structural integrity of the α-helices lining the central hole and this loop are both necessary to form productive complexes with MutSα and mismatch-containing DNA.
    Biochemistry 08/2013; 52(33):5611–5619. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Lynne M Dieckman, M Todd Washington
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    ABSTRACT: Translesion synthesis (TLS), the process by which DNA polymerases replicate through DNA lesions, is the source of most DNA damage-induced mutations. Sometimes TLS is carried out by replicative polymerases that have evolved to synthesize DNA on non-damaged templates. Most of the time, however, TLS is carried out by specialized translesion polymerases that have evolved to synthesize DNA on damaged templates. TLS requires the mono-ubiquitylation of the replication accessory factor proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). PCNA and ubiquitin-modified PCNA (UbPCNA) stimulate TLS by replicative and translesion polymerases. Two mutant forms of PCNA, one with an E113G substitution and one with a G178S substitution, support normal cell growth but inhibit TLS thereby reducing mutagenesis in yeast. A re-examination of the structures of both mutant PCNA proteins revealed substantial disruptions of the subunit interface that forms the PCNA trimer. Both mutant proteins have reduced trimer stability with the G178S substitution causing a more severe defect. The mutant forms of PCNA and UbPCNA do not stimulate TLS of an abasic site by either replicative Pol d or translesion Pol ?. Normal replication by Pol ? was also impacted, but normal replication by Pol d was much less affected. These findings support a model in which reduced trimer stability causes these mutant PCNA proteins to occasionally undergo conformational changes that compromise their ability to stimulate TLS by both replicative and translesion polymerases.
    DNA repair 03/2013; · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    John M Pryor, Lokesh Gakhar, M Todd Washington
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    ABSTRACT: Translesion synthesis (TLS) is a pathway in which specialized, low-fidelity DNA polymerases are used to overcome replication blocks caused by DNA damage. The use of this pathway often results in somatic mutations that can drive carcinogenesis. Rev1 is a TLS polymerase found in all eukaryotes that plays a pivotal role in mediating DNA-damage induced mutagenesis. It possesses a BRCA1 C-terminal (BRCT) domain that is required for its function. The rev1-1 allele encodes a mutant form of Rev1 with a G193R substitution in this domain, which reduces DNA damage-induced mutagenesis. Despite its clear importance in mutagenic TLS, the role of the BRCT domain is unknown. Here, we report the X-ray crystal structure of the yeast Rev1 BRCT domain and show that substitutions in residues constituting its phosphate-binding pocket do not affect mutagenic TLS. This suggests that the role of the Rev1 BRCT domain is not to recognize phosphate groups on protein binding partners or on DNA. We also found that the G193 residue is located in a conserved turn region of the BRCT domain, and our in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that the G193R substitution may disrupt Rev1 function by destabilizing the fold of the BRCT domain.
    Biochemistry 12/2012; · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Lynne M Dieckman, Bret D Freudenthal, M Todd Washington
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    ABSTRACT: Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), the eukaryotic DNA sliding clamp, forms a ring-shaped homo-trimer that encircles double-stranded DNA. This protein is best known for its ability to confer high processivity to replicative DNA polymerases. However, it does far more than this, because it forms a mobile platform on the DNA that recruits many of the proteins involved in DNA replication, repair, and recombination to replication forks. X-ray crystal structures of PCNA bound to PCNA-binding proteins have provided insights into how PCNA recognizes its binding partners and recruits them to replication forks. More recently, X-ray crystal structures of ubiquitin-modified and SUMO-modified PCNA have provided insights into how these post-translational modifications alter the specificity of PCNA for some of its binding partners. This article focuses on the insights gained from structural studies of PCNA complexes and post-translationally modified PCNA.
    Sub-cellular biochemistry 01/2012; 62:281-99.
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    John M Pryor, M Todd Washington
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    ABSTRACT: Rev1 is a eukaryotic DNA polymerase that rescues replication forks stalled at sites of DNA damage by inserting nucleotides opposite the damaged template bases. Yeast genetic studies suggest that Rev1 plays an important role in rescuing replication forks stalled at one of the most common forms of DNA damage, an abasic site; however, steady state kinetic studies suggest that an abasic site acts as a significant block to nucleotide incorporation by Rev1. Here we examined the pre-steady state kinetics of nucleotide incorporation by yeast Rev1 with damaged and non-damaged DNA substrates. We found that yeast Rev1 is capable of rapid nucleotide incorporation, but only a small fraction of the protein molecules possessed this robust activity. We characterized the nucleotide incorporation by the catalytically robust fraction of yeast Rev1 and found that it efficiently incorporated dCTP opposite a template abasic site under pre-steady state conditions. We conclude from these studies that the abasic site is a cognate lesion for Rev1.
    DNA repair 11/2011; 10(11):1138-44. · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PCNA ubiquitination in response to DNA damage leads to the recruitment of specialized translesion polymerases to the damage locus. This constitutes one of the initial steps in translesion synthesis (TLS)--a critical pathway for cell survival and for maintenance of genome stability. The recent crystal structure of ubiquitinated PCNA (Ub-PCNA) sheds light on the mode of association between the two proteins but also revealed that paradoxically, the ubiquitin surface engaged in PCNA interactions was the same as the surface implicated in translesion polymerase binding. This finding implied a degree of flexibility inherent in the Ub-PCNA complex that would allow it to transition into a conformation competent to bind the TLS polymerase. To address the issue of segmental flexibility, we combined multiscale computational modeling and small angle X-ray scattering. This combined strategy revealed alternative positions for ubiquitin to reside on the surface of the PCNA homotrimer, distinct from the position identified in the crystal structure. Two mutations originally identified in genetic screens and known to interfere with TLS are positioned directly beneath the bound ubiquitin in the alternative models. These computationally derived positions, in an ensemble with the crystallographic and flexible positions, provided the best fit to the solution scattering, indicating that ubiquitin dynamically associated with PCNA and is capable of transitioning between a few discrete sites on the PCNA surface. The finding of new docking sites and the positional equilibrium of PCNA-Ub occurring in solution provide unexpected insight into previously unexplained biological observations.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2011; 108(43):17672-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a replication accessory protein that functions in DNA replication, repair, and recombination. The various functions of PCNA are regulated by posttranslational modifications including mono-ubiquitylation, which promotes translesion synthesis, and sumoylation, which inhibits recombination. To understand how SUMO modification regulates PCNA, we generated a split SUMO-modified PCNA protein and showed that it supports cell viability and stimulates DNA polymerase δ activity. We then determined its X-ray crystal structure and found that SUMO occupies a position on the back face of the PCNA ring, which is distinct from the position occupied by ubiquitin in the structure of ubiquitin-modified PCNA. We propose that the back of PCNA has evolved to be a site of regulation that can be easily modified without disrupting ongoing reactions on the front of PCNA, such as normal DNA replication. Moreover, these modifications likely allow PCNA to function as a tool belt, whereby proteins can be recruited to the replication machinery via the back of PCNA and be held in reserve until needed.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 02/2011; 406(1):9-17. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic DNA polymerase delta (pol delta) is a member of the B family of polymerases and synthesizes most of the lagging strand during DNA replication. Yeast pol delta is a heterotrimer comprised of three subunits: the catalytic subunit (Pol3) and two accessory subunits (Pol31 and Pol32). Although pol delta is one of the major eukaryotic replicative polymerase, the mechanism by which it incorporates nucleotides is unknown. Here we report both steady state and pre-steady state kinetic studies of the fidelity of pol delta. We found that pol delta incorporates nucleotides with an error frequency of 10(-4) to 10(-5). Furthermore, we showed that for correct versus incorrect nucleotide incorporation, there are significant differences between both pre-steady state kinetic parameters (apparent K(d)(dNTP) and k(pol)). Somewhat surprisingly, we found that pol delta synthesizes DNA at a slow rate with a k(pol) of approximately 1 s(-1). We suggest that, unlike its prokaryotic counterparts, pol delta requires replication accessory factors like proliferating cell nuclear antigen to achieve rapid rates of nucleotide incorporation.
    Biochemistry 08/2010; 49(34):7344-50. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA synthesis by classical polymerases can be blocked by many lesions. These blocks are overcome by translesion synthesis, whereby the stalled classical, replicative polymerase is replaced by a nonclassical polymerase. In eukaryotes this polymerase exchange requires proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) monoubiquitination. To better understand the polymerase exchange, we developed a means of producing monoubiquitinated PCNA, by splitting the protein into two self-assembling polypeptides. We determined the X-ray crystal structure of monoubiquitinated PCNA and found that the ubiquitin moieties are located on the back face of PCNA and interact with it through their canonical hydrophobic surface. Moreover, the attachment of ubiquitin does not change PCNA's conformation. We propose that PCNA ubiquitination facilitates nonclassical polymerase recruitment to the back of PCNA by forming a new binding surface for nonclassical polymerases, consistent with a 'tool belt' model of the polymerase exchange.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 03/2010; 17(4):479-84. · 11.90 Impact Factor
  • Biochemistry-Columbus. 01/2010; 47(50):13354.
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    ABSTRACT: Most classical DNA polymerases, which function in normal DNA replication and repair, are unable to synthesize DNA opposite damage in the template strand. Thus in order to replicate through sites of DNA damage, cells are equipped with a variety of nonclassical DNA polymerases. These nonclassical polymerases differ from their classical counterparts in at least two important respects. First, nonclassical polymerases are able to efficiently incorporate nucleotides opposite DNA lesions while classical polymerases are generally not. Second, nonclassical polymerases synthesize DNA with a substantially lower fidelity than do classical polymerases. Many nonclassical polymerases are members of the Y-family of DNA polymerases, and this article focuses on the mechanisms of the four eukaryotic members of this family: polymerase eta, polymerase kappa, polymerase iota, and the Rev1 protein. We discuss the mechanisms of these enzymes at the kinetic and structural levels with a particular emphasis on how they accommodate damaged DNA substrates. Work over the last decade has shown that the mechanisms of these nonclassical polymerases are fascinating variations of the mechanism of the classical polymerases. The mechanisms of polymerases eta and kappa represent rather minor variations, while the mechanisms of polymerase iota and the Rev1 protein represent rather major variations. These minor and major variations all accomplish the same goal: they allow the nonclassical polymerases to circumvent the problems posed by the template DNA lesion.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 08/2009; 1804(5):1113-23. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is an essential replication accessory factor that interacts with a variety of proteins involved in DNA replication and repair. Each monomer of PCNA has an N-terminal domain A and a C-terminal domain B. In the structure of the wild-type PCNA protein, domain A of one monomer interacts with domain B of a neighboring monomer to form a ring-shaped trimer. Glu113 is a conserved residue at the subunit interface in domain A. Two distinct X-ray crystal structures have been determined of a mutant form of PCNA with a substitution at this position (E113G) that has previously been studied because of its effect on translesion synthesis. The first structure was the expected ring-shaped trimer. The second structure was an unanticipated nontrimeric form of the protein. In this nontrimeric form, domain A of one PCNA monomer interacts with domain A of a neighboring monomer, while domain B of this monomer interacts with domain B of a different neighboring monomer. The B-B interface is stabilized by an antiparallel beta-sheet and appears to be structurally similar to the A-B interface observed in the trimeric form of PCNA. The A-A interface, in contrast, is primarily stabilized by hydrophobic interactions. Because the E113G substitution is located on this hydrophobic surface, the A-A interface should be less favorable in the case of the wild-type protein. This suggests that the side chain of Glu113 promotes trimer formation by destabilizing these possible alternate subunit interactions.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 07/2009; 65(Pt 6):560-6. · 12.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a homotrimeric protein that functions as a sliding clamp during DNA replication. Several mutant forms of PCNA that block translesion DNA synthesis have been identified in genetic studies in yeast. One such mutant protein (encoded by the rev6-1 allele) is a glycine to serine substitution at residue 178, located at the subunit interface of PCNA. To improve our understanding of how this substitution interferes with translesion synthesis, we have determined the X-ray crystal structure of the PCNA G178S mutant protein. This substitution has little effect on the structure of the domain in which the substitution occurs. Instead, significant, local structural changes are observed in the adjacent subunit. The most notable difference between mutant and wild-type structures is in a single, extended loop (comprising amino acid residues 105-110), which we call loop J. In the mutant protein structure, loop J adopts a very different conformation in which the atoms of the protein backbone have moved by as much as 6.5 A from their positions in the wild-type structure. To improve our understanding of the functional consequences of this structural change, we have examined the ability of this mutant protein to stimulate nucleotide incorporation by DNA polymerase eta (pol eta). Steady state kinetic studies show that while wild-type PCNA stimulates incorporation by pol eta opposite an abasic site, the mutant PCNA protein actually inhibits incorporation opposite this DNA lesion. These results show that the position of loop J in PCNA plays an essential role in facilitating translesion synthesis.
    Biochemistry 12/2008; 47(50):13354-61. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA polymerase zeta (pol zeta), which is required for DNA damage-induced mutagenesis, functions in the error-prone replication of a wide range of DNA lesions. During this process, pol zeta extends from nucleotides incorporated opposite template lesions by other polymerases. Unlike classical polymerases, pol zeta efficiently extends from primer-terminal base pairs containing mismatches or lesions, and it synthesizes DNA with moderate fidelity. Here we describe genetic and biochemical studies of three yeast pol zeta mutant proteins containing substitutions of highly conserved amino acid residues that contact the triphosphate moiety of the incoming nucleotide. The R1057A and K1086A proteins do not complement the rev3Delta mutation, and these proteins have significantly reduced polymerase activity relative to the wild-type protein. In contrast, the K1061A protein partially complements the rev3Delta mutation and has nearly normal polymerase activity. Interestingly, the K1061A protein has increased fidelity relative to wild-type pol zeta and is somewhat less efficient at extending from mismatched primer-terminal base pairs. These findings have important implications both for the evolutionary divergence of pol zeta from classical polymerases and for the mechanism by which this enzyme accommodates distortions in the DNA caused by mismatches and lesions.
    Nucleic Acids Research 04/2008; 36(5):1731-40. · 8.81 Impact Factor
  • Craig A Howell, Satya Prakash, M Todd Washington
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    ABSTRACT: The yeast Rev1 protein (Rev1p) is a member of the Y family of DNA polymerases that specifically catalyzes the incorporation of C opposite template G and several types of DNA damage. The X-ray crystal structure of the Rev1p-DNA-dCTP ternary complex showed that Rev1p utilizes an unusual mechanism of nucleotide incorporation whereby the template residue is displaced from the DNA double helix and the side chain of Arg-324 forms hydrogen bonds with the incoming dCTP. To better understand the impact of this protein-template-directed mechanism on the thermodynamics and kinetics of nucleotide incorporation, we have carried out pre-steady-state kinetic studies with Rev1p. Interestingly, we found that Rev1p's specificity for incorporating C is achieved solely at the initial nucleotide-binding step, not at the subsequent nucleotide-incorporation step. In this respect, Rev1p differs from all previously investigated DNA polymerases. We also found that the base occupying the template position in the DNA impacts nucleotide incorporation more at the nucleotide-binding step than at the nucleotide-incorporation step. These studies provide the first detailed, quantitative information regarding the mechanistic impact of protein-template-directed nucleotide incorporation by Rev1p. Moreover, on the basis of these findings and on structures of the unrelated Escherichia coli MutM DNA glycosylase, we suggest the possible structures for the ternary complexes of Rev1p with the other incoming dNTPs.
    Biochemistry 12/2007; 46(46):13451-9. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human DNA polymerase kappa (pol kappa) is a member of the Y family of DNA polymerases that function in translesion synthesis. It synthesizes DNA with moderate fidelity and does not efficiently incorporate nucleotides opposite DNA lesions. Pol kappa has the unusual ability to efficiently extend from mismatched primer termini, and it extends readily from nucleotides inserted by other DNA polymerases opposite a variety of DNA lesions. All of this has suggested that pol kappa functions during the extension step of translesion synthesis. Here, we have carried out pre-steady-state kinetic studies of pol kappa using DNA with matched and mismatched primer termini. Interestingly, we find that mismatches present only a modest kinetic barrier to nucleotide incorporation by pol kappa. Moreover, and quite surprisingly, active-site titrations revealed that the concentration of active pol kappa is very low with matched DNA, and from DNA trapping experiments we determined that this was due to the formation of nonproductive protein.DNA complexes. In marked contrast, we found that the concentration of active pol kappa was six-fold greater with mismatched DNA than with matched DNA. Thus, pol kappa forms nonproductive complexes with matched but not with mismatched DNA. From these observations, we conclude that pol kappa has evolved to specifically function on DNA substrates with aberrant primer-terminal base pairs, such as the ones it would encounter during the extension step of translesion synthesis.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2006; 103(43):15776-81. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An unexpected substrate-dependent lag-phase, found in the single turnover reduction of FDTS bound flavin, sheds light on the molecular mechanism of this alternative thymidylate synthase.
    Chemical Communications 05/2006; · 6.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The efficiency and fidelity of nucleotide incorporation by high-fidelity replicative DNA polymerases (Pols) are governed by the geometric constraints imposed upon the nascent base pair by the active site. Consequently, these polymerases can efficiently and accurately replicate through the template bases which are isosteric to natural DNA bases but which lack the ability to engage in Watson-Crick (W-C) hydrogen bonding. DNA synthesis by Poleta, a low-fidelity polymerase able to replicate through DNA lesions, however, is inhibited in the presence of such an analog, suggesting a dependence of this polymerase upon W-C hydrogen bonding. Here we examine whether human Polkappa, which differs from Poleta in having a higher fidelity and which, unlike Poleta, is inhibited at inserting nucleotides opposite DNA lesions, shows less of a dependence upon W-C hydrogen bonding than does Poleta. We find that an isosteric thymidine analog is replicated with low efficiency by Polkappa, whereas a nucleobase analog lacking minor-groove H bonding potential is replicated with high efficiency. These observations suggest that both Poleta and Polkappa rely on W-C hydrogen bonding for localizing the nascent base pair in the active site for the polymerization reaction to occur, thus overcoming these enzymes' low geometric selectivity.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 09/2005; 25(16):7137-43. · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    Karissa D Carlson, M Todd Washington
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    ABSTRACT: Most DNA polymerases incorporate nucleotides opposite template 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) lesions with reduced efficiency and accuracy. DNA polymerase (Pol) eta, which catalyzes the error-free replication of template thymine-thymine (TT) dimers, has the unique ability to accurately and efficiently incorporate nucleotides opposite 8-oxoG templates. Here we have used pre-steady-state kinetics to examine the mechanisms of correct and incorrect nucleotide incorporation opposite G and 8-oxoG by Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pol eta. We found that Pol eta binds the incoming correct dCTP opposite both G and 8-oxoG with similar affinities, and it incorporates the correct nucleotide bound opposite both G and 8-oxoG with similar rates. While Pol eta incorporates an incorrect A opposite 8-oxoG with lower efficiency than it incorporates a correct C, it does incorporate A more efficiently opposite 8-oxoG than opposite G. This is mainly due to greater binding affinity for the incorrect incoming dATP opposite 8-oxoG. Overall, these results show that Pol eta replicates through 8-oxoG without any barriers introduced by the presence of the lesion.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 04/2005; 25(6):2169-76. · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rev1, a member of the Y family of DNA polymerases, functions in lesion bypass together with DNA polymerase zeta (Pol zeta). Rev1 is a highly specialized enzyme in that it incorporates only a C opposite template G. While Rev1 plays an indispensable structural role in Pol zeta-dependent lesion bypass, the role of its DNA synthetic activity in lesion bypass has remained unclear. Since interactions of DNA polymerases with the DNA minor groove contribute to the nearly equivalent efficiencies and fidelities of nucleotide incorporation opposite each of the four template bases, here we examine the possibility that unlike other DNA polymerases, Rev1 does not come into close contact with the minor groove of the incipient base pair, and that enables it to incorporate a C opposite the N(2)-adducted guanines in DNA. To test this idea, we examined whether Rev1 could incorporate a C opposite the gamma-hydroxy-1,N(2)-propano-2'deoxyguanosine DNA minor-groove adduct, which is formed from the reaction of acrolein with the N(2) of guanine. Acrolein, an alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehyde, is generated in vivo as the end product of lipid peroxidation and from other oxidation reactions. We show here that Rev1 efficiently incorporates a C opposite this adduct from which Pol zeta subsequently extends, thereby completing the lesion bypass reaction. Based upon these observations, we suggest that an important role of the Rev1 DNA synthetic activity in lesion bypass is to incorporate a C opposite the various N(2)-guanine DNA minor-groove adducts that form in DNA.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 09/2004; 24(16):6900-6. · 5.04 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
307.92 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2013
    • University of Iowa
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Iowa City, Iowa, United States
  • 2000–2005
    • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      Galveston, TX, United States
  • 2004
    • Oregon Health and Science University
      • Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET)
      Portland, Oregon, United States
  • 2003
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Palo Alto, California, United States