Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Biol. 2001 Sep 28;312(4):637-47.

High affinity cooperative DNA binding by the yeast Mlh1-Pms1 heterodimer.

Author information

Laboratories of Molecular Genetics and Structural Biology, NIEHS, RTP, NC 27709, USA.


We demonstrate here that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mlh1-Pms1 heterodimer required for DNA mismatch repair and other cellular processes is a DNA binding protein. Binding was evaluated using a variety of single and double-stranded DNA molecules. Mlh1-Pms1 bound short substrates with low affinity and showed a slight preference for single-stranded DNA. In contrast, Mlh1-Pms1 exhibited a much higher affinity for long DNA molecules, suggesting that binding is cooperative. High affinity binding required a duplex DNA length greater than 241 base-pairs. The rate of association with DNA was rapid and dissociation of protein-DNA complexes following extensive dilution was very slow. However, in competition experiments, we observed a rapid active transfer of Mlh1-Pms1 from labeled to unlabeled DNA. Binding was non-sequence specific and highly sensitive to salt type and concentration, suggesting that Mlh1-Pms1 primarily interacts with the DNA backbone via ionic contacts. Cooperative binding was observed visually by atomic force microscopy as long, continuous tracts of Mlh1-Pms1 protein bound to duplex DNA. These images also showed that Mlh1-Pms1 simultaneously interacts with two different regions of duplex DNA. Taken together, the atomic force microscope images and DNA binding assays provide strong evidence that Mlh1-Pms1 binds duplex DNA with positive cooperativity and that there is more than one DNA binding site on the heterodimer. These DNA binding properties of Mlh1-Pms1 may be relevant to its participation in DNA mismatch repair, recombination and cellular responses to DNA damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center