National Center for
5HNK: Crystal Structure Of T5fen In Complex Intact Substrate And Metal Ions
Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2016) 23 p.640-646
Maintenance of genome integrity requires that branched nucleic acid molecules be accurately processed to produce double-helical DNA. Flap endonucleases are essential enzymes that trim such branched molecules generated by Okazaki-fragment synthesis during replication. Here, we report crystal structures of bacteriophage T5 flap endonuclease in complexes with intact DNA substrates and products, at resolutions of 1.9-2.2 A. They reveal single-stranded DNA threading through a hole in the enzyme, which is enclosed by an inverted V-shaped helical arch straddling the active site. Residues lining the hole induce an unusual barb-like conformation in the DNA substrate, thereby juxtaposing the scissile phosphate and essential catalytic metal ions. A series of complexes and biochemical analyses show how the substrate's single-stranded branch approaches, threads through and finally emerges on the far side of the enzyme. Our studies suggest that substrate recognition involves an unusual 'fly-casting, thread, bend and barb' mechanism.