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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 May;11(5):1673-85.

Identification and characterization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc6 DNA-binding properties.

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  • 1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90027, USA.


Recent studies have shown that Cdc6 is an essential regulator in the formation of DNA replication complexes. However, the biochemical nature of the Cdc6 molecule is still largely unknown. In this report, we present evidence that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc6 protein is a double-stranded DNA-binding protein. First, we have demonstrated that the purified yeast Cdc6 can bind to double-stranded DNA (dissociation constant approximately 1 x 10(-7) M), not to single-stranded DNA, and that the Cdc6 molecule is a homodimer in its native form. Second, we show that GST-Cdc6 fusion proteins expressed in Escherichia coli bind DNA in an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Cdc6 antibodies and GST antibodies, but not preimmune serum, induce supershifts of GST-Cdc6 and DNA complexes in these assays, which also showed that GST-Cdc6 binds to various DNA probes without apparent sequence specificity. Third, the minimal requirement for the binding of Cdc6 to DNA has been mapped within its N-terminal 47-amino acid sequence (the NP6 region). This minimal binding domain shows identical DNA-binding properties to those possessed by full-length Cdc6. Fourth, the GST-NP6 protein competes for DNA binding with distamycin A, an antibiotic that chelates DNA within the minor groove of the A+T-rich region. Finally, site-direct mutagenesis studies revealed that the (29)KRKK region of Cdc6 is essential for Cdc6 DNA-binding activity. To further elucidate the function of Cdc6 DNA binding in vivo, we demonstrated that a binding mutant of Cdc6 fails to complement either cdc6-1 temperature-sensitive mutant cells or Deltacdc6 null mutant cells at the nonpermissive temperature. The mutant gene also conferred growth impairments and increased the plasmid loss in its host, indicative of defects in DNA synthesis. Because the mutant defective in DNA binding also fails to stimulate Abf1 ARS1 DNA-binding activity, our results suggest that Cdc6 DNA-binding activity may play a pivotal role in the initiation of DNA replication.

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