Publications by authors named "Kenneth N Kreuzer"

27 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Functional Analysis of the Bacteriophage T4 Rad50 Homolog (gp46) Coiled-coil Domain.

J Biol Chem 2015 Sep 4;290(39):23905-15. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

From the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011 and

Rad50 and Mre11 form a complex involved in the detection and processing of DNA double strand breaks. Rad50 contains an anti-parallel coiled-coil with two absolutely conserved cysteine residues at its apex. These cysteine residues serve as a dimerization domain and bind a Zn(2+) cation in a tetrathiolate coordination complex known as the zinc-hook. Mutation of the zinc-hook in bacteriophage T4 is lethal, indicating the ability to bind Zn(2+) is critical for the functioning of the MR complex. In vitro, we found that complex formation between Rad50 and a peptide corresponding to the C-terminal domain of Mre11 enhances the ATPase activity of Rad50, supporting the hypothesis that the coiled-coil is a major conduit for communication between Mre11 and Rad50. We constructed mutations to perturb this domain in the bacteriophage T4 Rad50 homolog. Deletion of the Rad50 coiled-coil and zinc-hook eliminates Mre11 binding and ATPase activation but does not affect its basal activity. Mutation of the zinc-hook or disruption of the coiled-coil does not affect Mre11 or DNA binding, but their activation of Rad50 ATPase activity is abolished. Although these mutants excise a single nucleotide at a normal rate, they lack processivity and have reduced repetitive exonuclease rates. Restricting the mobility of the coiled-coil eliminates ATPase activation and repetitive exonuclease activity, but the ability to support single nucleotide excision is retained. These results suggest that the coiled-coiled domain adopts at least two conformations throughout the ATPase/nuclease cycle, with one conformation supporting enhanced ATPase activity and processivity and the other supporting nucleotide excision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M115.675132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4583041PMC
September 2015

Functions that Protect Escherichia coli from Tightly Bound DNA-Protein Complexes Created by Mutant EcoRII Methyltransferase.

PLoS One 2015 19;10(5):e0128092. Epub 2015 May 19.

University Program in Genetics and Genomics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham NC, 27710, United States of America; Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham NC, 27710, United States of America.

Expression of mutant EcoRII methyltransferase protein (M.EcoRII-C186A) in Escherichia coli leads to tightly bound DNA-protein complexes (TBCs), located sporadically on the chromosome rather than in tandem arrays. The mechanisms behind the lethality induced by such sporadic TBCs are not well studied, nor is it clear whether very tight binding but non-covalent complexes are processed in the same way as covalent DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs). Using 2D gel electrophoresis, we found that TBCs induced by M.EcoRII-C186A block replication forks in vivo. Specific bubble molecules were detected as spots on the 2D gel, only when M.EcoRII-C186A was induced, and a mutation that eliminates a specific EcoRII methylation site led to disappearance of the corresponding spot. We also performed a candidate gene screen for mutants that are hypersensitive to TBCs induced by M.EcoRII-C186A. We found several gene products necessary for protection against these TBCs that are known to also protect against DPCs induced with wild-type M.EcoRII (after 5-azacytidine incorporation): RecA, RecBC, RecG, RuvABC, UvrD, FtsK, XerCD and SsrA (tmRNA). In contrast, the RecFOR pathway and Rep helicase are needed for protection against TBCs but not DPCs induced by M.EcoRII. We propose that stalled fork processing by RecFOR and RecA promotes release of tightly bound (but non-covalent) blocking proteins, perhaps by licensing Rep helicase-driven dissociation of the blocking M.EcoRII-C186A. Our studies also argued against the involvement of several proteins that might be expected to protect against TBCs. We took the opportunity to directly compare the sensitivity of all tested mutants to two quinolone antibiotics, which target bacterial type II topoisomerases and induce a unique form of DPC. We uncovered rep, ftsK and xerCD as novel quinolone hypersensitive mutants, and also obtained evidence against the involvement of a number of functions that might be expected to protect against quinolones.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0128092PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437897PMC
April 2016

Mutations that Separate the Functions of the Proofreading Subunit of the Escherichia coli Replicase.

G3 (Bethesda) 2015 Apr 15;5(6):1301-11. Epub 2015 Apr 15.

University Program in Genetics and Genomics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27705 Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710

The dnaQ gene of Escherichia coli encodes the ε subunit of DNA polymerase III, which provides the 3' → 5' exonuclease proofreading activity of the replicative polymerase. Prior studies have shown that loss of ε leads to high mutation frequency, partially constitutive SOS, and poor growth. In addition, a previous study from our laboratory identified dnaQ knockout mutants in a screen for mutants specifically defective in the SOS response after quinolone (nalidixic acid) treatment. To explain these results, we propose a model whereby, in addition to proofreading, ε plays a distinct role in replisome disassembly and/or processing of stalled replication forks. To explore this model, we generated a pentapeptide insertion mutant library of the dnaQ gene, along with site-directed mutants, and screened for separation of function mutants. We report the identification of separation of function mutants from this screen, showing that proofreading function can be uncoupled from SOS phenotypes (partially constitutive SOS and the nalidixic acid SOS defect). Surprisingly, the two SOS phenotypes also appear to be separable from each other. These findings support the hypothesis that ε has additional roles aside from proofreading. Identification of these mutants, especially those with normal proofreading but SOS phenotype(s), also facilitates the study of the role of ε in SOS processes without the confounding results of high mutator activity associated with dnaQ knockout mutants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/g3.115.017285DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478557PMC
April 2015

Functions that protect Escherichia coli from DNA-protein crosslinks.

DNA Repair (Amst) 2015 Apr 7;28:48-59. Epub 2015 Feb 7.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham NC 27710, United States. Electronic address:

Pathways for tolerating and repairing DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are poorly defined. We used transposon mutagenesis and candidate gene approaches to identify DPC-hypersensitive Escherichia coli mutants. DPCs were induced by azacytidine (aza-C) treatment in cells overexpressing cytosine methyltransferase; hypersensitivity was verified to depend on methyltransferase expression. We isolated hypersensitive mutants that were uncovered in previous studies (recA, recBC, recG, and uvrD), hypersensitive mutants that apparently activate phage Mu Gam expression, and novel hypersensitive mutants in genes involved in DNA metabolism, cell division, and tRNA modification (dinG, ftsK, xerD, dnaJ, hflC, miaA, mnmE, mnmG, and ssrA). Inactivation of SbcCD, which can cleave DNA at protein-DNA complexes, did not cause hypersensitivity. We previously showed that tmRNA pathway defects cause aza-C hypersensitivity, implying that DPCs block coupled transcription/translation complexes. Here, we show that mutants in tRNA modification functions miaA, mnmE and mnmG cause defects in aza-C-induced tmRNA tagging, explaining their hypersensitivity. In order for tmRNA to access a stalled ribosome, the mRNA must be cleaved or released from RNA polymerase. Mutational inactivation of functions involved in mRNA processing and RNA polymerase elongation/release (RNase II, RNaseD, RNase PH, RNase LS, Rep, HepA, GreA, GreB) did not cause aza-C hypersensitivity; the mechanism of tmRNA access remains unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dnarep.2015.01.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4385401PMC
April 2015

Replication of the Escherichia coli chromosome in RNase HI-deficient cells: multiple initiation regions and fork dynamics.

Mol Microbiol 2014 Jan 15;91(1):39-56. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

DNA replication in Escherichia coli is normally initiated at a single origin, oriC, dependent on initiation protein DnaA. However, replication can be initiated elsewhere on the chromosome at multiple ectopic oriK sites. Genetic evidence indicates that initiation from oriK depends on RNA-DNA hybrids (R-loops), which are normally removed by enzymes such as RNase HI to prevent oriK from misfiring during normal growth. Initiation from oriK sites occurs in RNase HI-deficient mutants, and possibly in wild-type cells under certain unusual conditions. Despite previous work, the locations of oriK and their impact on genome stability remain unclear. We combined 2D gel electrophoresis and whole genome approaches to map genome-wide oriK locations. The DNA copy number profiles of various RNase HI-deficient strains contained multiple peaks, often in consistent locations, identifying candidate oriK sites. Removal of RNase HI protein also leads to global alterations of replication fork migration patterns, often opposite to normal replication directions, and presumably eukaryote-like replication fork merging. Our results have implications for genome stability, offering a new understanding of how RNase HI deficiency results in R-loop-mediated transcription-replication conflict, as well as inappropriate replication stalling or blockage at Ter sites outside of the terminus trap region and at ribosomal operons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mmi.12440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926323PMC
January 2014

DNA damage responses in prokaryotes: regulating gene expression, modulating growth patterns, and manipulating replication forks.

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2013 Nov 1;5(11):a012674. Epub 2013 Nov 1.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.

Recent advances in the area of bacterial DNA damage responses are reviewed here. The SOS pathway is still the major paradigm of bacterial DNA damage response, and recent studies have clarified the mechanisms of SOS induction and key physiological roles of SOS including a very major role in genetic exchange and variation. When considering diverse bacteria, it is clear that SOS is not a uniform pathway with one purpose, but rather a platform that has evolved for differing functions in different bacteria. Relating in part to the SOS response, the field has uncovered multiple apparent cell-cycle checkpoints that assist cell survival after DNA damage and remarkable pathways that induce programmed cell death in bacteria. Bacterial DNA damage responses are also much broader than SOS, and several important examples of LexA-independent regulation will be reviewed. Finally, some recent advances that relate to the replication and repair of damaged DNA will be summarized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a012674DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809575PMC
November 2013

Coordination and processing of DNA ends during double-strand break repair: the role of the bacteriophage T4 Mre11/Rad50 (MR) complex.

Genetics 2013 Nov 26;195(3):739-55. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.

The in vivo functions of the bacteriophage T4 Mre11/Rad50 (MR) complex (gp46/47) in double-strand-end processing, double-strand break repair, and recombination-dependent replication were investigated. The complex is essential for T4 growth, but we wanted to investigate the in vivo function during productive infections. We therefore generated a suppressed triple amber mutant in the Rad50 subunit to substantially reduce the level of complex and thereby reduce phage growth. Growth-limiting amounts of the complex caused a concordant decrease in phage genomic recombination-dependent replication. However, the efficiencies of double-strand break repair and of plasmid-based recombination-dependent replication remained relatively normal. Genetic analyses of linked markers indicated that double-strand ends were less protected from nuclease erosion in the depleted infection and also that end coordination during repair was compromised. We discuss models for why phage genomic recombination-dependent replication is more dependent on Mre11/Rad50 levels when compared to plasmid recombination-dependent replication. We also tested the importance of the conserved histidine residue in nuclease motif I of the T4 Mre11 protein. Substitution with multiple different amino acids (including serine) failed to support phage growth, completely blocked plasmid recombination-dependent replication, and led to the stabilization of double-strand ends. We also constructed and expressed an Mre11 mutant protein with the conserved histidine changed to serine. The mutant protein was found to be completely defective for nuclease activities, but retained the ability to bind the Rad50 subunit and double-stranded DNA. These results indicate that the nuclease activity of Mre11 is critical for phage growth and recombination-dependent replication during T4 infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.113.154872DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3813861PMC
November 2013

The T4 phage SF1B helicase Dda is structurally optimized to perform DNA strand separation.

Structure 2012 Jul 31;20(7):1189-200. Epub 2012 May 31.

Department of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.

Helicases move on DNA via an ATP binding and hydrolysis mechanism coordinated by well-characterized helicase motifs. However, the translocation along single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and the strand separation of double-stranded (dsDNA) may be loosely or tightly coupled. Dda is a phage T4 SF1B helicase with sequence homology to the Pif1 family of helicases that tightly couples translocation to strand separation. The crystal structure of the Dda-ssDNA binary complex reveals a domain referred to as the "pin" that was previously thought to remain static during strand separation. The pin contains a conserved phenylalanine that mediates a transient base-stacking interaction that is absolutely required for separation of dsDNA. The pin is secured at its tip by protein-protein interactions through an extended SH3 domain thereby creating a rigid strut. The conserved interface between the pin and the SH3 domain provides the mechanism for tight coupling of translocation to strand separation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2012.04.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3392491PMC
July 2012

Initiation of bacteriophage T4 DNA replication and replication fork dynamics: a review in the Virology Journal series on bacteriophage T4 and its relatives.

Virol J 2010 Dec 3;7:358. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Bacteriophage T4 initiates DNA replication from specialized structures that form in its genome. Immediately after infection, RNA-DNA hybrids (R-loops) occur on (at least some) replication origins, with the annealed RNA serving as a primer for leading-strand synthesis in one direction. As the infection progresses, replication initiation becomes dependent on recombination proteins in a process called recombination-dependent replication (RDR). RDR occurs when the replication machinery is assembled onto D-loop recombination intermediates, and in this case, the invading 3' DNA end is used as a primer for leading strand synthesis. Over the last 15 years, these two modes of T4 DNA replication initiation have been studied in vivo using a variety of approaches, including replication of plasmids with segments of the T4 genome, analysis of replication intermediates by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and genomic approaches that measure DNA copy number as the infection progresses. In addition, biochemical approaches have reconstituted replication from origin R-loop structures and have clarified some detailed roles of both replication and recombination proteins in the process of RDR and related pathways. We will also discuss the parallels between T4 DNA replication modes and similar events in cellular and eukaryotic organelle DNA replication, and close with some current questions of interest concerning the mechanisms of replication, recombination and repair in phage T4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1743-422X-7-358DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016281PMC
December 2010

Crystal structure of the phage T4 recombinase UvsX and its functional interaction with the T4 SF2 helicase UvsW.

J Mol Biol 2011 Jan 28;405(1):65-76. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Department of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.

Bacteriophage T4 provides an important model system for studying the mechanism of homologous recombination. We have determined the crystal structure of the T4 UvsX recombinase, and the overall architecture and fold closely resemble those of RecA, including a highly conserved ATP binding site. Based on this new structure, we reanalyzed electron microscopy reconstructions of UvsX-DNA filaments and docked the UvsX crystal structure into two different filament forms: a compressed filament generated in the presence of ADP and an elongated filament generated in the presence of ATP and aluminum fluoride. In these reconstructions, the ATP binding site sits at the protomer interface, as in the RecA filament crystal structure. However, the environment of the ATP binding site is altered in the two filament reconstructions, suggesting that nucleotide cannot be as easily accommodated at the protomer interface of the compressed filament. Finally, we show that the phage helicase UvsW completes the UvsX-promoted strand-exchange reaction, allowing the generation of a simple nicked circular product rather than complex networks of partially exchanged substrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2010.10.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3006652PMC
January 2011

Importance of the tmRNA system for cell survival when transcription is blocked by DNA-protein cross-links.

Mol Microbiol 2010 Nov 16;78(3):686-700. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Anticancer drug 5-azacytidine (aza-C) induces DNA-protein cross-links (DPCs) between cytosine methyltransferase and DNA as the drug inhibits methylation. We found that mutants defective in the tmRNA translational quality control system are hypersensitive to aza-C. Hypersensitivity requires expression of active methyltransferase, indicating the importance of DPC formation. Furthermore, the tmRNA pathway is activated upon aza-C treatment in cells expressing methyltransferase, resulting in increased levels of SsrA tagged proteins. These results argue that the tmRNA pathway clears stalled ribosome-mRNA complexes generated after transcriptional blockage by aza-C-induced DPCs. In support, an ssrA mutant is also hypersensitive to streptolydigin, which blocks RNA polymerase elongation by a different mechanism. The tmRNA pathway is thought to act only on ribosomes containing a 3' RNA end near the A site, and the known pathway for releasing RNA 3' ends from a blocked polymerase involves Mfd helicase. However, an mfd knockout mutant is not hypersensitive to either aza-C-induced DPC formation or streptolydigin, indicating that Mfd is not involved. Transcription termination factor Rho is also likely not involved, because the Rho-specific inhibitor bicyclomycin failed to show synergism with either aza-C or streptolydigin. Based on these findings, we discuss models for how E. coli processes transcription/translation complexes blocked at DPCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07355.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2963719PMC
November 2010

Fork regression is an active helicase-driven pathway in bacteriophage T4.

EMBO Rep 2009 Apr 6;10(4):394-9. Epub 2009 Mar 6.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3711, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

Reactivation of stalled replication forks requires specialized mechanisms that can recognize the fork structure and promote downstream processing events. Fork regression has been implicated in several models of fork reactivation as a crucial processing step that supports repair. However, it has also been suggested that regressed forks represent pathological structures rather than physiological intermediates of repair. To investigate the biological role of fork regression in bacteriophage T4, we tested several mechanistic models of regression: strand exchange-mediated extrusion, topology-driven fork reversal and helicase-mediated extrusion. Here, we report that UvsW, a T4 branch-specific helicase, is necessary for the accumulation of regressed forks in vivo, and that UvsW-catalysed regression is the dominant mechanism of origin-fork processing that contributes to double-strand end formation. We also show that UvsW resolves purified fork intermediates in vitro by fork regression. Regression is therefore part of an active, UvsW-driven pathway of fork processing in bacteriophage T4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/embor.2009.13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672904PMC
April 2009

The epsilon subunit of DNA polymerase III Is involved in the nalidixic acid-induced SOS response in Escherichia coli.

J Bacteriol 2008 Aug 6;190(15):5239-47. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

Quinolone antibacterial drugs such as nalidixic acid target DNA gyrase in Escherichia coli. These inhibitors bind to and stabilize a normally transient covalent protein-DNA intermediate in the gyrase reaction cycle, referred to as the cleavage complex. Stabilization of the cleavage complex is necessary but not sufficient for cell killing--cytotoxicity apparently results from the conversion of cleavage complexes into overt DNA breaks by an as-yet-unknown mechanism(s). Quinolone treatment induces the bacterial SOS response in a RecBC-dependent manner, arguing that cleavage complexes are somehow converted into double-stranded breaks. However, the only proteins known to be required for SOS induction by nalidixic acid are RecA and RecBC. In hopes of identifying additional proteins involved in the cytotoxic response to nalidixic acid, we screened for E. coli mutants specifically deficient in SOS induction upon nalidixic acid treatment by using a dinD::lacZ reporter construct. From a collection of SOS partially constitutive mutants with disruptions of 47 different genes, we found that dnaQ insertion mutants are specifically deficient in the SOS response to nalidixic acid. dnaQ encodes DNA polymerase III epsilon subunit, the proofreading subunit of the replicative polymerase. The deficient response to nalidixic acid was rescued by the presence of the wild-type dnaQ gene, confirming involvement of the epsilon subunit. To further characterize the SOS deficiency of dnaQ mutants, we analyzed the expression of several additional SOS genes in response to nalidixic acid using real-time PCR. A subset of SOS genes lost their response to nalidixic acid in the dnaQ mutant strain, while two tested SOS genes (recA and recN) continued to exhibit induction. These results argue that the replication complex plays a role in modulating the SOS response to nalidixic acid and that the response is more complex than a simple on/off switch.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.00173-08DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2493257PMC
August 2008

Regression supports two mechanisms of fork processing in phage T4.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 May 2;105(19):6852-7. Epub 2008 May 2.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Replication forks routinely encounter damaged DNA and tightly bound proteins, leading to fork stalling and inactivation. To complete DNA synthesis, it is necessary to remove fork-blocking lesions and reactivate stalled fork structures, which can occur by multiple mechanisms. To study the mechanisms of stalled fork reactivation, we used a model fork intermediate, the origin fork, which is formed during replication from the bacteriophage T4 origin, ori(34). The origin fork accumulates within the T4 chromosome in a site-specific manner without the need for replication inhibitors or DNA damage. We report here that the origin fork is processed in vivo to generate a regressed fork structure. Furthermore, origin fork regression supports two mechanisms of fork resolution that can potentially lead to fork reactivation. Fork regression generates both a site-specific double-stranded end (DSE) and a Holliday junction. Each of these DNA elements serves as a target for processing by the T4 ATPase/exonuclease complex [gene product (gp) 46/47] and Holliday junction-cleaving enzyme (EndoVII), respectively. In the absence of both gp46 and EndoVII, regressed origin forks are stabilized and persist throughout infection. In the presence of EndoVII, but not gp46, there is significantly less regressed origin fork accumulation apparently due to cleavage of the regressed fork Holliday junction. In the presence of gp46, but not EndoVII, regressed origin fork DSEs are processed by degradation of the DSE and a pathway that includes recombination proteins. Although both mechanisms can occur independently, they may normally function together as a single fork reactivation pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0711999105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2383968PMC
May 2008

The phage T4 protein UvsW drives Holliday junction branch migration.

J Biol Chem 2007 Nov 5;282(47):34401-11. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

The phage T4 UvsW protein has been shown to play a crucial role in the switch from origin-dependent to recombination-dependent replication in T4 infections through the unwinding of origin R-loop initiation intermediates. UvsW also functions with UvsX and UvsY to repair damaged DNA through homologous recombination, and, based on genetic evidence, has been proposed to act as a Holliday junction branch migration enzyme. Here we report the purification and characterization of UvsW. Using oligonucleotide-based substrates, we confirm that UvsW unwinds branched DNA substrates, including X and Y structures, but shows little activity in unwinding linear duplex substrates with blunt or single-strand ends. Using a novel Holliday junction-containing substrate, we also demonstrate that UvsW promotes the branch migration of Holliday junctions efficiently through more than 1000 bp of DNA. The ATP hydrolysis-deficient mutant protein, UvsW-K141R, is unable to promote Holliday junction branch migration. However, both UvsW and UvsW-K141R are capable of stabilizing Holliday junctions against spontaneous branch migration when ATP is not present. Using two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis we also show that UvsW acts on T4-generated replication intermediates, including Holliday junction-containing X-shaped intermediates and replication fork-shaped intermediates. Taken together, these results strongly support a role for UvsW in the branch migration of Holliday junctions that form during T4 recombination, replication, and repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M705913200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094049PMC
November 2007

5-Azacytidine induced methyltransferase-DNA adducts block DNA replication in vivo.

Cancer Res 2007 Sep;67(17):8248-54

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

5-Azacytidine (aza-C) and its derivatives are cytidine analogues used for leukemia chemotherapy. The primary effect of aza-C is the prohibition of cytosine methylation, which results in covalent methyltransferase-DNA (MTase-DNA) adducts at cytosine methylation sites. These adducts have been suggested to cause chromosomal rearrangements and contribute to cytotoxicity, but the detailed mechanisms have not been elucidated. We used two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis and electron microscopy to analyze plasmid pBR322 replication dynamics in Escherichia coli cells grown in the presence of aza-C. Two-dimensional gel analysis revealed the accumulation of specific bubble and Y molecules, dependent on overproduction of the cytosine MTase EcoRII (M.EcoRII) and treatment with aza-C. Furthermore, a point mutation that eliminates a particular EcoRII methylation site resulted in disappearance of the corresponding bubble and Y molecules. These results imply that aza-C-induced MTase-DNA adducts block DNA replication in vivo. RecA-dependent X structures were also observed after aza-C treatment. These molecules may be generated from blocked forks by recombinational repair and/or replication fork regression. In addition, electron microscopy analysis revealed both bubbles and rolling circles (RC) after aza-C treatment. These results suggest that replication can switch from theta to RC mode after a replication fork is stalled by an MTase-DNA adduct. The simplest model for the conversion of theta to RC mode is that the blocked replication fork is cleaved by a branch-specific endonuclease. Such replication-dependent DNA breaks may represent an important pathway that contributes to genome rearrangement and/or cytotoxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-1038DOI Listing
September 2007

Formation and processing of stalled replication forks--utility of two-dimensional agarose gels.

Methods Enzymol 2006 ;409:477-93

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Replication forks can be stalled by tightly bound proteins, DNA damage, nucleotide deprivation, or defects in the replication machinery. It is now appreciated that processing of stalled replication forks is critical for completion of DNA replication and maintenance of genome stability. In this chapter, we detail the use of two-dimensional (2D) agarose gels with Southern hybridization for the detection and analysis of blocked replication forks in vivo. This kind of 2D gel electrophoresis has been used extensively for analysis of replication initiation mechanisms for many years, and more recently has become a valuable tool for analysis of fork stalling. Although the method can provide valuable information when forks are stalled in random locations (e.g., after UV damage or nucleotide deprivation), it is even more informative with site-specific fork blockage, for example, blocks caused by tightly bound replication terminator proteins or by drug-stabilized topoisomerase cleavage complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0076-6879(05)09028-2DOI Listing
August 2006

Genetic analysis of the requirements for SOS induction by nalidixic acid in Escherichia coli.

Gene 2005 Aug;356:69-76

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Nalidixic acid, the prototype antibacterial quinolone, induces the SOS response by a mechanism that requires the RecBCD nuclease/helicase. A key step inferred for this induction pathway is the conversion of a drug-induced gyrase cleavage complex into a DNA break that can be processed by RecBC. We tried to clarify the nature of this step by searching for additional gene products that are specifically necessary for SOS induction following nalidixic acid treatment. A transposon library of approximately 19,000 insertion mutants yielded 18 mutants that were substantially reduced for SOS induction following nalidixic acid but not UV treatment, and which were also hypersensitive to nalidixic acid. All 18 mutants turned out to have insertions in recB or recC. As expected, recA insertion mutants were uncovered as being uninducible by either nalidixic acid or UV treatment. Insertions in 11 other genes were found to cause partial defects in SOS induction by one or both pathways, providing possible leads in understanding the detailed mechanisms of SOS induction. Overall, these results suggest that nalidixic acid-induced DNA breaks are generated either by RecBC itself, by redundant activities, and/or by an essential protein that could not be uncovered with transposon mutagenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2005.04.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2200294PMC
August 2005

Norfloxacin-induced DNA gyrase cleavage complexes block Escherichia coli replication forks, causing double-stranded breaks in vivo.

Mol Microbiol 2005 Jun;56(6):1416-29

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Antibacterial quinolones inhibit type II DNA topoisomerases by stabilizing covalent topoisomerase-DNA cleavage complexes, which are apparently transformed into double-stranded breaks by cellular processes such as replication. We used plasmid pBR322 and two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis to examine the collision of replication forks with quinolone-induced gyrase-DNA cleavage complexes in Escherichia coli. Restriction endonuclease-digested DNA exhibited a bubble arc with discrete spots, indicating that replication forks had been stalled. The most prominent spot depended upon the strong gyrase binding site of pBR322, providing direct evidence that quinolone-induced cleavage complexes block bacterial replication forks in vivo. We differentiated between stalled forks that do or do not contain bound cleavage complex by extracting DNA under different conditions. Resealing conditions allow gyrase to efficiently reseal the transient breaks within cleavage complexes, while cleavage conditions cause the latent breaks to be revealed. These experiments showed that some stalled forks did not contain a cleavage complex, implying that gyrase had dissociated in vivo and yet the fork had not restarted at the time of DNA isolation. Additionally, some branched plasmid DNA isolated under resealing conditions nonetheless contained broken DNA ends. We discuss a model for the creation of double-stranded breaks by an indirect mechanism after quinolone treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2958.2005.04638.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1201555PMC
June 2005

Interplay between DNA replication and recombination in prokaryotes.

Annu Rev Microbiol 2005 ;59:43-67

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

The processes of DNA replication and recombination are intertwined at many different levels. In diverse systems, extensive DNA replication can be triggered by genetic recombination, with assembly of a replication complex onto a D-loop recombination intermediate. This and related pathways of replisome assembly allow the completion of DNA replication when forks initiated at a conventional replication origin fail before completing replication of the genome. In addition, the repair of double-strand breaks or gaps by homologous recombination requires at least limited DNA replication to replace the missing information. An intricate interplay between replication and recombination is also evident during the termination of bacterial DNA replication and during the induction of the bacterial SOS response to DNA damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.micro.59.030804.121255DOI Listing
January 2006

Bacteriophage T4 helicase loader protein gp59 functions as gatekeeper in origin-dependent replication in vivo.

J Biol Chem 2005 Jun 21;280(22):21561-9. Epub 2005 Mar 21.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

Bacteriophage T4 initiates origin-dependent replication via an R-loop mechanism in vivo. During in vitro reactions, the phage-encoded gp59 stimulates loading of the replicative helicase, gp41, onto branched intermediates, including origin R-loops. However, although gp59 is essential for recombination-dependent replication from D-loops, it does not appear to be required for origin-dependent replication in vivo. In this study, we have analyzed the origin-replicative intermediates formed during infections that are deficient in gp59 and other phage replication proteins. During infections lacking gp59, the initial replication forks from two different T4 origins actively replicated both leading- and lagging-strands. However, the retrograde replication forks from both origins were abnormal in the gp59-deficient infections. The lagging-strand from the initial fork was elongated as a new leading-strand in the retrograde direction without lagging-strand synthesis, whereas in the wild-type, leading- and lagging-strand synthesis appeared to be coupled. These results imply that gp59 inhibits the polymerase holoenzyme in vivo until the helicase-primase (gp41-gp61) complex is loaded, and we thereby refer to gp59 as a gatekeeper. We also found that all origin-replicative intermediates were absent in infections deficient in the helicase gp41 or the single-strand-binding protein gp32, regardless of whether gp59 was present or absent. These results argue that replication from the origin in vivo is dependent on both the helicase and single-strand-binding protein and demonstrate that the strong replication defect of gene 41 and 32 single mutants is not caused by gp59 inhibition of the polymerase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M502351200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361368PMC
June 2005

Isolation of SOS constitutive mutants of Escherichia coli.

J Bacteriol 2004 Nov;186(21):7149-60

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

The bacterial SOS regulon is strongly induced in response to DNA damage from exogenous agents such as UV radiation and nalidixic acid. However, certain mutants with defects in DNA replication, recombination, or repair exhibit a partially constitutive SOS response. These mutants presumably suffer frequent replication fork failure, or perhaps they have difficulty rescuing forks that failed due to endogenous sources of DNA damage. In an effort to understand more clearly the endogenous sources of DNA damage and the nature of replication fork failure and rescue, we undertook a systematic screen for Escherichia coli mutants that constitutively express the SOS regulon. We identified mutant strains with transposon insertions in 42 genes that caused increased expression from a dinD1::lacZ reporter construct. Most of these also displayed significant increases in basal levels of RecA protein, confirming an effect on the SOS system. As expected, this collection includes genes, such as lexA, dam, rep, xerCD, recG, and polA, which have previously been shown to cause an SOS constitutive phenotype when inactivated. The collection also includes 28 genes or open reading frames that were not previously identified as SOS constitutive, including dcd, ftsE, ftsX, purF, tdcE, and tynA. Further study of these SOS constitutive mutants should be useful in understanding the multiple causes of endogenous DNA damage. This study also provides a quantitative comparison of the extent of SOS expression caused by inactivation of many different genes in a common genetic background.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.186.21.7149-7160.2004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC523190PMC
November 2004

The crystal structure of the UvsW helicase from bacteriophage T4.

Structure 2004 Apr;12(4):583-92

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

In bacteriophage T4, the WXY system repairs DNA damage by a process that involves homologous recombination. This system comprises three proteins, the RecA-like recombination protein UvsX, a recombination mediator protein UvsY, and a helicase UvsW. Here we report the 2.0 A resolution crystal structure of the N-terminal two domains of the UvsW helicase (UvsWNF; residues 1-282). The structure reveals a typical helicase RecA-like domain linked to a small N-terminal alpha/beta domain that likely binds the nucleic acid substrate. The missing C-terminal portion of UvsW almost certainly corresponds to the second RecA-like domain typically found in monomeric helicases. The putative substrate binding domain is unique within the known helicase structures, and it resembles the novel "double-wing" DNA binding domain from the phage T4 MotA transcription factor that mediates the expression of T4 middle genes. The functional implications of this homology for the role of UvsW in T4 DNA metabolism are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2004.02.016DOI Listing
April 2004

Endonuclease cleavage of blocked replication forks: An indirect pathway of DNA damage from antitumor drug-topoisomerase complexes.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2003 Apr 18;100(9):5046-51. Epub 2003 Apr 18.

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

The cytotoxicity of several important antitumor drugs depends on formation of the covalent topoisomerase-DNA cleavage complex. However, cellular processes such as DNA replication are necessary to convert the cleavage complex into a cytotoxic lesion, but the molecular mechanism of this conversion and the precise nature of the cytotoxic lesion are unknown. Using a bacteriophage T4 model system, we have previously shown that antitumor drug-induced cleavage complexes block replication forks in vivo. In this report, we show that these blocked forks can be cleaved by T4 endonuclease VII to create overt DNA breaks. The accumulation of blocked forks increased in endonuclease VII-deficient infections, suggesting that endonuclease cleavage contributes to fork processing in vivo. Furthermore, purified endonuclease VII cleaved the blocked forks in vitro close to the branch points. These results suggest that an indirect pathway of branched-DNA cleavage contributes to the cytotoxicity of antitumor drugs that target DNA topoisomerases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0835166100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC154295PMC
April 2003

Coordination of DNA ends during double-strand-break repair in bacteriophage T4.

Genetics 2002 Nov;162(3):1019-30

Department of Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

The extensive chromosome replication (ECR) model of double-strand-break repair (DSBR) proposes that each end of a double-strand break (DSB) is repaired independently by initiating extensive semiconservative DNA replication after strand invasion into homologous template DNA. In contrast, several other DSBR models propose that the two ends of a break are repaired in a coordinated manner using a single repair template with only limited DNA synthesis. We have developed plasmid and chromosomal recombinational repair assays to assess coordination of the broken ends during DSBR in bacteriophage T4. Results from the plasmid assay demonstrate that the two ends of a DSB can be repaired independently using homologous regions on two different plasmids and that extensive replication is triggered in the process. These findings are consistent with the ECR model of DSBR. However, results from the chromosomal assay imply that the two ends of a DSB utilize the same homologous repair template even when many potential templates are present, suggesting coordination of the broken ends during chromosomal repair. This result is consistent with several coordinated models of DSBR, including a modified version of the ECR model.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1201557PMC
November 2002

A unique type II topoisomerase mutant that is hypersensitive to a broad range of cleavage-inducing antitumor agents.

Biochemistry 2002 Jun;41(25):7989-97

Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3020, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Bacteriophage T4 provides a useful model system for dissecting the mechanism of action of antitumor agents that target type II DNA topoisomerases. Many of these inhibitors act by trapping the cleavage complex, a covalent complex of enzyme and broken DNA. Previous analysis showed that a drug-resistant T4 mutant harbored two amino acid substitutions (S79F, G269V) in topoisomerase subunit gp52. Surprisingly, the single amino acid substitution, G269V, was shown to confer hypersensitivity in vivo to m-AMSA and oxolinic acid [Freudenreich, C. H., et al. (1998) Cancer Res. 58, 1260-1267]. We purified this G269V mutant enzyme and found it to be hypersensitive to a number of cleavage-inducing inhibitors including m-AMSA, VP-16, mitoxantrone, ellipticine, and oxolinic acid. While the mutant enzyme did not exhibit altered DNA cleavage site specificity compared to the wild-type enzyme, it did display an apparent 10-fold increase in drug-independent DNA cleavage. This suggests a novel mechanism of altered drug sensitivity in which the enzyme equilibrium has been shifted to favor the cleavage complex, resulting in an increase in the concentration of cleavage intermediates available to inhibitors. Mutations that alter drug sensitivities tend to cluster within two specific regions of all type II topoisomerases. Residue G269 of gp52 lies outside of these regions, and it is therefore not surprising that G269V leads to a unique mechanism of drug hypersensitivity. We believe that this mutant defines a new category of type II topoisomerase mutants, namely, those that are hypersensitive to all inhibitors that stabilize the cleavage complex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi025897mDOI Listing
June 2002

Replication, recombination, and repair: going for the gold.

Mol Cell 2002 Mar;9(3):471-80

Department of Biochemistry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.

DNA recombination is now appreciated to be integral to DNA replication and cell survival. Recombination allows replication to successfully maneuver through the roadblocks of damaged or collapsed replication forks. The signals and controls that permit cells to transition between replication and recombination modes are now being identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1097-2765(02)00493-8DOI Listing
March 2002
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