Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochemistry. 2005 Jul 19;44(28):9645-56.

Nucleotides regulate the conformational state of the small terminase subunit from bacteriophage lambda: implications for the assembly of a viral genome-packaging motor.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Terminase enzymes are responsible for "packaging" of viral DNA into a preformed procapsid. Bacteriophage lambda terminase is composed of two subunits, gpA and gpNu1, in a gpA(1).gpNu1(2) holoenzyme complex. The larger gpA subunit is responsible for preparation of viral DNA for packaging, and is central to the packaging motor complex. The smaller gpNu1 subunit is required for site-specific assembly of the packaging motor on viral DNA. Terminase assembly at the packaging initiation site is regulated by ATP binding and hydrolysis at the gpNu1 subunit. Characterization of the catalytic and structural interactions between the DNA and nucleotide binding sites of gpNu1 is thus central to our understanding of the packaging motor at the molecular level. The high-resolution structure of the DNA binding domain of gpNu1 (gpNu1-DBD) was recently determined in our lab [de Beer, T., et al. (2002) Mol. Cell 9, 981-991]. The structure reveals the presence of a winged-helix-turn-helix DNA binding motif, but the location of the ATPase catalytic site in gpNu1 remains unknown. In this work, nucleotide binding to the gpNu1-DBD was probed using acrylamide fluorescence quenching and fluorescence-monitored ligand binding studies. The data indicate that the minimal DBD dimer binds both ATP and ADP at two equivalent but highly cooperative binding sites. The data further suggest that ATP and ADP induce distinct conformations of the dimer but do not affect DNA binding affinity. The implications of these results with respect to the assembly and function of a terminase DNA-packaging motor are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Chemical Society
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk