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J Mol Biol. 2005 Aug 26;351(4):895-909.

Analysis of the quaternary structure of the MutL C-terminal domain.

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Institut für Biochemie FB 08, Justus-Liebig Universität, Giessen D-35392, Germany.


The dimeric DNA mismatch repair protein MutL has a key function in communicating mismatch recognition by MutS to downstream repair processes. Dimerization of MutL is mediated by the C-terminal domain, while activity of the protein is modulated by the ATP-dependent dimerization of the highly conserved N-terminal domain. Recently, a crystal structure analysis of the Escherichia coli MutL C-terminal dimerization domain has been reported and a model for the biological dimer was proposed. In this model, dimerization is mediated by the internal (In) subdomain comprising residues 475-569. Here, we report a computational analysis of all protein interfaces observed in the crystal structure and suggest that the biological dimer interface is formed by a hydrophobic surface patch of the external (Ex) subdomain (residues 432-474 and 570-615). Moreover, sequence analysis revealed that this surface patch is conserved among the MutL proteins. To test this hypothesis, single and double-cysteine variants of MutL were generated and tested for their ability to be cross-linked with chemical cross-linkers of various size. Finally, deletion of the C-terminal residues 605-615 abolished homodimerization. The biochemical data are fully compatible with a revised model for the biological dimer, which has important implications for understanding the heterodimerization of eukaryotic MutL homologues, modeling the MutL holoenzyme and predicting protein-protein interaction sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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