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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jun 1;287(23):19070-81. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.343830. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Assembly and dynamics of Gp59-Gp32-single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), a DNA helicase loading complex required for recombination-dependent replication in bacteriophage T4.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.


The Gp59 protein of bacteriophage T4 plays critical roles in recombination-dependent DNA replication and repair by correctly loading the replicative helicase, Gp41, onto recombination intermediates. Previous work demonstrated that Gp59 is required to load helicase onto single-stranded DNA that is saturated with Gp32, the T4 single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-binding protein. Gp59 and Gp32 bind simultaneously to ssDNA, forming a Gp59-Gp32-ssDNA complex that is a key intermediate in helicase loading. Here we characterize the assembly and dynamics of this helicase loading complex (HLC) through changes in the fluorescent states of Gp32F, a fluorescein-Gp32 conjugate. Results show that HLC formation requires a minimum Gp32-ssDNA cluster size and that Gp59 co-localizes with Gp32-ssDNA clusters in the presence of excess free ssDNA. These and other results indicate that Gp59 targets helicase assembly onto Gp32-ssDNA clusters that form on the displaced strand of D-loops, which suggests a mechanism for the rapid initiation of recombination-dependent DNA replication. Helicase loading at the HLC requires ATP binding (not hydrolysis) by Gp41 and results in local remodeling of Gp32 within the HLC. Subsequent ATPase-driven translocation of Gp41 progressively disrupts Gp32-ssDNA interactions. Evidence suggests that Gp59 from the HLC is recycled to promote multiple rounds of helicase assembly on Gp32-ssDNA, a capability that could be important for the restart of stalled replication forks.

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