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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 22;277(12):9695-700. Epub 2002 Jan 7.

Conserved residues in domain Ia are required for the reaction of Escherichia coli DNA ligase with NAD+.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York 10021, USA.


NAD(+)-dependent DNA ligases are present in all bacteria and are essential for growth. Their unique substrate specificity compared with ATP-dependent human DNA ligases recommends the NAD(+) ligases as targets for the development of new broad-spectrum antibiotics. A plausible strategy for drug discovery is to identify the structural components of bacterial DNA ligase that interact with NAD(+) and then to isolate small molecules that recognize these components and thereby block the binding of NAD(+) to the ligase. The limitation to this strategy is that the structural determinants of NAD(+) specificity are not known. Here we show that reactivity of Escherichia coli DNA ligase (LigA) with NAD(+) requires N-terminal domain Ia, which is unique to, and conserved among, NAD(+) ligases but absent from ATP-dependent ligases. Deletion of domain Ia abolished the sealing of 3'-OH/5'-PO(4) nicks and the reaction with NAD(+) to form ligase-adenylate but had no effect on phosphodiester formation at a preadenylated nick. Alanine substitutions at conserved residues within domain Ia either reduced (His-23, Tyr-35) or abolished (Tyr-22, Asp-32, Asp-36) sealing of a 5'-PO(4) nick and adenylyl transfer from NAD(+) without affecting ligation of pre-formed DNA-adenylate. We suggest that these five side chains comprise a binding site for the nicotinamide mononucleotide moiety of NAD(+). Structure-activity relationships were clarified by conservative substitutions.

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