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Genome Res. 1999 Jan;9(1):27-43.

AAA+: A class of chaperone-like ATPases associated with the assembly, operation, and disassembly of protein complexes.

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  • 1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724,


Using a combination of computer methods for iterative database searches and multiple sequence alignment, we show that protein sequences related to the AAA family of ATPases are far more prevalent than reported previously. Among these are regulatory components of Lon and Clp proteases, proteins involved in DNA replication, recombination, and restriction (including subunits of the origin recognition complex, replication factor C proteins, MCM DNA-licensing factors and the bacterial DnaA, RuvB, and McrB proteins), prokaryotic NtrC-related transcription regulators, the Bacillus sporulation protein SpoVJ, Mg2+, and Co2+ chelatases, the Halobacterium GvpN gas vesicle synthesis protein, dynein motor proteins, TorsinA, and Rubisco activase. Alignment of these sequences, in light of the structures of the clamp loader delta' subunit of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III and the hexamerization component of N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein, provides structural and mechanistic insights into these proteins, collectively designated the AAA+ class. Whole-genome analysis indicates that this class is ancient and has undergone considerable functional divergence prior to the emergence of the major divisions of life. These proteins often perform chaperone-like functions that assist in the assembly, operation, or disassembly of protein complexes. The hexameric architecture often associated with this class can provide a hole through which DNA or RNA can be thread; this may be important for assembly or remodeling of DNA-protein complexes.

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