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J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 17;287(34):28609-18. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.380428. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Kinetic analysis of DNA strand joining by Chlorella virus DNA ligase and the role of nucleotidyltransferase motif VI in ligase adenylylation.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York 10065, USA.


Chlorella virus DNA ligase (ChVLig) is an instructive model for mechanistic studies of the ATP-dependent DNA ligase family. ChVLig seals 3'-OH and 5'-PO(4) termini via three chemical steps: 1) ligase attacks the ATP α phosphorus to release PP(i) and form a covalent ligase-adenylate intermediate; 2) AMP is transferred to the nick 5'-phosphate to form DNA-adenylate; 3) the 3'-OH of the nick attacks DNA-adenylate to join the polynucleotides and release AMP. Each chemical step requires Mg(2+). Kinetic analysis of nick sealing by ChVLig-AMP revealed that the rate constant for phosphodiester synthesis (k(step3) = 25 s(-1)) exceeds that for DNA adenylylation (k(step2) = 2.4 s(-1)) and that Mg(2+) binds with similar affinity during step 2 (K(d) = 0.77 mM) and step 3 (K(d) = 0.87 mM). The rates of DNA adenylylation and phosphodiester synthesis respond differently to pH, such that step 3 becomes rate-limiting at pH ≤ 6.5. The pH profiles suggest involvement of one and two protonation-sensitive functional groups in catalysis of steps 2 and 3, respectively. We suggest that the 5'-phosphate of the nick is the relevant protonation-sensitive moiety and that a dianionic 5'-phosphate is necessary for productive step 2 catalysis. Motif VI, located at the C terminus of the OB-fold domain of ChVLig, is a conserved feature of ATP-dependent DNA ligases and GTP-dependent mRNA capping enzymes. Presteady state and burst kinetic analysis of the effects of deletion and missense mutations highlight the catalytic contributions of ChVLig motif VI, especially the Asp-297 carboxylate, exclusively during the ligase adenylylation step.

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