[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To avoid mutations in the genome, DNA replication is generally followed by DNA mismatch repair (MMR). MMR starts when a MutS homolog recognizes a mismatch and undergoes an ATP-dependent transformation to an elusive sliding clamp state. How this transient state promotes MutL homolog recruitment and activation of repair is unclear. Here we present a crystal structure of the MutS/MutL complex using a site-specifically crosslinked complex and examine how large conformational changes lead to activation of MutL. The structure captures MutS in the sliding clamp conformation, where tilting of the MutS subunits across each other pushes DNA into a new channel, and reorientation of the connector domain creates an interface for MutL with both MutS subunits. Our work explains how the sliding clamp promotes loading of MutL onto DNA, to activate downstream effectors. We thus elucidate a crucial mechanism that ensures that MMR is initiated only after detection of a DNA mismatch.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In eukaryotes, RNA Polymerase III (Pol III) is specifically responsible for transcribing genes encoding tRNAs and other short non-coding RNAs. The recruitment of Pol III to tRNA-encoding genes requires the transcription factors (TF) IIIB and IIIC. TFIIIC has been described as a conserved, multi-subunit protein complex composed of two subcomplexes, called τA and τB. How these two subcomplexes are linked and how their interaction affects the formation of the Pol III pre-initiation complex (PIC) is poorly understood. Here we use chemical crosslinking mass spectrometry and determine the molecular architecture of TFIIIC. We further report the crystal structure of the essential TPR array from τA subunit τ131 and characterize its interaction with a central region of τB subunit τ138. The identified τ131-τ138 interacting region is essential in vivo and overlaps with TFIIIB-binding sites, revealing a crucial interaction platform for the regulation of tRNA transcription initiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mismatch repair (MMR) corrects replication errors such as mismatched bases and loops in DNA. The evolutionarily conserved dimeric MMR protein MutS recognizes mismatches by stacking a phenylalanine of one subunit against one base of the mismatched pair. In all crystal structures of G:T mismatch-bound MutS, phenylalanine is stacked against thymine. To explore whether these structures reflect directional mismatch recognition by MutS, we monitored the orientation of Escherichia coli MutS binding to mismatches by FRET and anisotropy with steady state, pre-steady state and single-molecule multiparameter fluorescence measurements in a solution. The results confirm that specifically bound MutS bends DNA at the mismatch. We found additional MutS-mismatch complexes with distinct conformations that may have functional relevance in MMR. The analysis of individual binding events reveal significant bias in MutS orientation on asymmetric mismatches (G:T versus T:G, A:C versus C:A), but not on symmetric mismatches (G:G). When MutS is blocked from binding a mismatch in the preferred orientation by positioning asymmetric mismatches near the ends of linear DNA substrates, its ability to authorize subsequent steps of MMR, such as MutH endonuclease activation, is almost abolished. These findings shed light on prerequisites for MutS interactions with other MMR proteins for repairing the appropriate DNA strand.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2012; 40(12):5448-64. DOI:10.1093/nar/gks138 · 9.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system recognizes and repairs errors that escaped the proofreading function of DNA polymerases. To study molecular details of the MMR mechanism, in vitro biochemical assays require specific DNA substrates carrying mismatches and strand discrimination signals. Current approaches used to generate MMR substrates are time-consuming and/or not very flexible with respect to sequence context. Here we report an approach to generate small circular DNA containing a mismatch (nanocircles). Our method is based on the nicking of PCR products resulting in single-stranded 3' overhangs, which form DNA circles after annealing and ligation. Depending on the DNA template, one can generate mismatched circles containing a single hemimethylated GATC site (for use with the bacterial system) and/or nicking sites to generate DNA circles nicked in the top or bottom strand (for assays with the bacterial or eukaryotic MMR system). The size of the circles varied (323 to 1100 bp), their sequence was determined by the template DNA, and purification of the circles was achieved by ExoI/ExoIII digestion and/or gel extraction. The quality of the nanocircles was assessed by scanning-force microscopy and their suitability for in vitro repair initiation was examined using recombinant Escherichia coli MMR proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ternary complex comprising MutS, MutL, and DNA is a key intermediate in DNA mismatch repair. We used chemical cross-linking and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to study the interaction between MutS and MutL and to shed light onto the structure of this complex. Via chemical cross-linking, we could stabilize this dynamic complex and identify the structural features of key events in DNA mismatch repair. We could show that in the complex between MutS and MutL the mismatch-binding and connector domains of MutS are in proximity to the N-terminal ATPase domain of MutL. The DNA- and nucleotide-dependent complex formation could be monitored by FRET using single cysteine variants labeled in the connector domain of MutS and the transducer domain of MutL, respectively. In addition, we could trap MutS after an ATP-induced conformational change by an intramolecular cross-link between Cys-93 of the mismatch-binding domain and Cys-239 of the connector domain.