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J Biol Chem. 2006 May 12;281(19):13412-23. Epub 2006 Feb 13.

Crystal structure and nonhomologous end-joining function of the ligase component of Mycobacterium DNA ligase D.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


DNA ligase D (LigD) is a large polyfunctional enzyme involved in nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) in mycobacteria. LigD consists of a C-terminal ATP-dependent ligase domain fused to upstream polymerase and phosphoesterase modules. Here we report the 2.4 angstroms crystal structure of the ligase domain of Mycobacterium LigD, captured as the covalent ligase-AMP intermediate with a divalent metal in the active site. A chloride anion on the protein surface coordinated by the ribose 3'-OH and caged by arginine and lysine side chains is a putative mimetic of the 5'-phosphate at a DNA nick. Structure-guided mutational analysis revealed distinct requirements for the adenylylation and end-sealing reactions catalyzed by LigD. We found that a mutation of Mycobacterium LigD that ablates only ligase activity results in decreased fidelity of NHEJ in vivo and a strong bias of mutagenic events toward deletions instead of insertions at the sealed DNA ends. This phenotype contrasts with the increased fidelity of double-strand break repair in deltaligD cells or in a strain in which only the polymerase function of LigD is defective. We surmise that the signature error-prone quality of bacterial NHEJ in vivo arises from a dynamic balance between the end-remodeling and end-sealing steps.

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