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J Mol Biol. 2001 Feb 9;306(1):25-35.

Crystal structure of the SMC head domain: an ABC ATPase with 900 residues antiparallel coiled-coil inserted.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QH, UK.


SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) proteins are large coiled-coil proteins involved in chromosome condensation, sister chromatid cohesion, and DNA double-strand break processing. They share a conserved five-domain architecture with three globular domains separated by two long coiled-coil segments. The coiled-coil segments are antiparallel, bringing the N and C-terminal globular domains together. We have expressed a fusion protein of the N and C-terminal globular domains of Thermotoga maritima SMC in Escherichia coli by replacing the approximately 900 residue coiled-coil and hinge segment with a short peptide linker. The SMC head domain (SMChd) binds and condenses DNA in an ATP-dependent manner. Using selenomethionine-substituted protein and multiple anomalous dispersion phasing, we have solved the crystal structure of the SMChd to 3.1 A resolution. In the monoclinic crystal form, six SMChd molecules form two turns of a helix. The fold of SMChd is closely related to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) ATPase family of proteins and Rad50, a member of the SMC family involved in DNA double-strand break repair. In SMChd, the ABC ATPase fold is formed by the N and C-terminal domains with the 900 residue coiled-coil and hinge segment inserted in the middle of the fold. The crystal structure of an SMChd confirms that the coiled-coil segments in SMC proteins are anti-parallel and shows how the N and C-terminal domains come together to form an ABC ATPase. Comparison to the structure of the MukB N-terminal domain demonstrates the close relationship between MukB and SMC proteins, and indicates a helix to strand conversion when N and C-terminal parts come together.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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