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Nat Chem Biol. 2011 Nov 27;8(1):125-32. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.721.

Eukaryotic DNA polymerases require an iron-sulfur cluster for the formation of active complexes.

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Institut für Zytobiologie und Zytopathologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


The eukaryotic replicative DNA polymerases (Pol α, δ and ɛ) and the major DNA mutagenesis enzyme Pol ζ contain two conserved cysteine-rich metal-binding motifs (CysA and CysB) in the C-terminal domain (CTD) of their catalytic subunits. Here we demonstrate by in vivo and in vitro approaches the presence of an essential [4Fe-4S] cluster in the CysB motif of all four yeast B-family DNA polymerases. Loss of the [4Fe-4S] cofactor by cysteine ligand mutagenesis in Pol3 destabilized the CTD and abrogated interaction with the Pol31 and Pol32 subunits. Reciprocally, overexpression of accessory subunits increased the amount of the CTD-bound Fe-S cluster. This implies an important physiological role of the Fe-S cluster in polymerase complex stabilization. Further, we demonstrate that the Zn-binding CysA motif is required for PCNA-mediated Pol δ processivity. Together, our findings show that the function of eukaryotic replicative DNA polymerases crucially depends on different metallocenters for accessory subunit recruitment and replisome stability.

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