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J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 10;287(33):28196-205. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.349894. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Structure of p22 headful packaging nuclease.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.

Abstract

Packaging of viral genomes into preformed procapsids requires the controlled and synchronized activity of an ATPase and a genome-processing nuclease, both located in the large terminase (L-terminase) subunit. In this paper, we have characterized the structure and regulation of bacteriophage P22 L-terminase (gp2). Limited proteolysis reveals a bipartite organization consisting of an N-terminal ATPase core flexibly connected to a C-terminal nuclease domain. The 2.02 Å crystal structure of P22 headful nuclease obtained by in-drop proteolysis of full-length L-terminase (FL-L-terminase) reveals a central seven-stranded β-sheet core that harbors two magnesium ions. Modeling studies with DNA suggest that the two ions are poised for two-metal ion-dependent catalysis, but the nuclease DNA binding surface is sterically hindered by a loop-helix (L(1)-α(2)) motif, which is incompatible with catalysis. Accordingly, the isolated nuclease is completely inactive in vitro, whereas it exhibits endonucleolytic activity in the context of FL-L-terminase. Deleting the autoinhibitory L(1)-α(2) motif (or just the loop L(1)) restores nuclease activity to a level comparable with FL-L-terminase. Together, these results suggest that the activity of P22 headful nuclease is regulated by intramolecular cross-talk with the N-terminal ATPase domain. This cross-talk allows for precise and controlled cleavage of DNA that is essential for genome packaging.

PMID:
22715098
PMCID:
PMC3431676
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M112.349894
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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