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Nature. 1989 Apr 20;338(6217):658-62.

ATP-dependent assembly of double hexamers of SV40 T antigen at the viral origin of DNA replication.

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Biology Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973.


Simian virus 40 (SV40) replicates in nuclei of human and monkey cells. One viral protein, large tumour (T) antigen, is required for the initiation of DNA replication. The development of in vitro replication systems which retain this property has facilitated the identification of the cellular components required for replication. T antigen recognizes the pentanucleotide 5'-GAGGC-3' which is present in four copies within the 64 base-pairs (bp) of the core origin. In the presence of ATP it binds with increased affinity forming a distinctive, bilobed structure visible in electron micrographs. As a helicase, it unwinds SV40 DNA bidirectionally from the origin. We report here that in vitro and in the presence of ATP, T antigen assembles a double hexamer, centred on the core origin and extending beyond it by 12 bp in each direction. The assembly of this dodecamer initiates an untwisting of the duplex by 2-3 turns. In the absence of ATP, a tetrameric structure is the largest found at the core origin. In the absence of DNA, but in the presence of ATP or its non-hydrolysable analogues, T antigen assembles into hexamers. This suggests that ATP effects an allosteric change in the monomer. The change alters protein-protein interactions and allows the assembly of a double hexamer, which initiates replication at the core origin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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