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Nature. 2000 Oct 12;407(6805):703-10.

Crystal structures of mismatch repair protein MutS and its complex with a substrate DNA.

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Genetics and Biochemistry Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


DNA mismatch repair is critical for increasing replication fidelity in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. MutS protein, a member of the ABC ATPase superfamily, recognizes mispaired and unpaired bases in duplex DNA and initiates mismatch repair. Mutations in human MutS genes cause a predisposition to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer as well as sporadic tumours. Here we report the crystal structures of a MutS protein and a complex of MutS with a heteroduplex DNA containing an unpaired base. The structures reveal the general architecture of members of the MutS family, an induced-fit mechanism of recognition between four domains of a MutS dimer and a heteroduplex kinked at the mismatch, a composite ATPase active site composed of residues from both MutS subunits, and a transmitter region connecting the mismatch-binding and ATPase domains. The crystal structures also provide a molecular framework for understanding hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer mutations and for postulating testable roles of MutS.

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