Jun Zhang

The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States

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Publications (3)12.22 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Sulfolobus solfataricus DNA Polymerase IV (Dpo4), a prototype Y-family DNA polymerase, has been well characterized biochemically and biophysically at 37 °C or lower temperatures. However, the physiological temperature of the hyperthermophile S. solfataricus is approximately 80 °C. With such a large discrepancy in temperature, the in vivo relevance of these in vitro studies of Dpo4 has been questioned. Here, we employed circular dichroism spectroscopy and fluorescence-based thermal scanning to investigate the secondary structural changes of Dpo4 over a temperature range from 26 to 119 °C. Dpo4 was shown to display a high melting temperature characteristic of hyperthermophiles. Unexpectedly, the Little Finger domain of Dpo4, which is only found in the Y-family DNA polymerases, was shown to be more thermostable than the polymerase core. More interestingly, Dpo4 exhibited a three-state cooperative unfolding profile with an unfolding intermediate. The linker region between the Little Finger and Thumb domains of Dpo4 was found to be a source of structural instability. Through site-directed mutagenesis, the interactions between the residues in the linker region and the Palm domain were identified to play a critical role in the formation of the unfolding intermediate. Notably, the secondary structure of Dpo4 was not altered when the temperature was increased from 26 to 87.5 °C. Thus, in addition to providing structural insights into the thermal stability and an unfolding intermediate of Dpo4, our work also validated the relevance of the in vitro studies of Dpo4 performed at temperatures significantly lower than 80 °C.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 06/2012; 25(7):1531-40. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous template-dependent DNA polymerases are capable of catalyzing template-independent nucleotide additions onto blunt-end DNA. Such non-canonical activity has been hypothesized to increase the genomic hypermutability of retroviruses including human immunodeficiency viruses. Here, we employed pre-steady state kinetics and X-ray crystallography to establish a mechanism for blunt-end additions catalyzed by Sulfolobus solfataricus Dpo4. Our kinetic studies indicated that the first blunt-end dATP incorporation was 80-fold more efficient than the second, and among natural deoxynucleotides, dATP was the preferred substrate due to its stronger intrahelical base-stacking ability. Such base-stacking contributions are supported by the 41-fold higher ground-state binding affinity of a nucleotide analog, pyrene nucleoside 5'-triphosphate, which lacks hydrogen bonding ability but possesses four conjugated aromatic rings. A 2.05 A resolution structure of Dpo4*(blunt-end DNA)*ddATP revealed that the base and sugar of the incoming ddATP, respectively, stack against the 5'-base of the opposite strand and the 3'-base of the elongating strand. This unprecedented base-stacking pattern can be applied to subsequent blunt-end additions only if all incorporated dAMPs are extrahelical, leading to predominantly single non-templated dATP incorporation.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 02/2007; 365(3):590-602. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA repair pathways are essential for maintaining genome stability. DNA polymerase beta plays a critical role in base-excision repair in vivo. DNA polymerase lambda, a recently identified X-family homolog of DNA polymerase beta, is hypothesized to be a second polymerase involved in base-excision repair. The full-length DNA polymerase lambda is comprised of three domains: a C-terminal DNA polymerase beta-like domain, an N-terminal BRCA1 C-terminal domain, and a previously uncharacterized proline-rich domain. Strikingly, pre-steady-state kinetic analyses reveal that, although human DNA polymerase lambda has almost identical fidelity to human DNA polymerase beta, the C-terminal DNA polymerase beta-like domain alone displays a dramatic, up to 100-fold loss in fidelity. We further demonstrate that the non-enzymatic proline-rich domain confers the increase in fidelity of DNA polymerase lambda by significantly lowering incorporation rate constants of incorrect nucleotides. Our studies illustrate a novel mechanism, in which the DNA polymerase fidelity is controlled not by an accessory protein or a proofreading exonuclease domain but by an internal regulatory domain.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2006; 281(28):19038-44. · 4.65 Impact Factor