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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Oct 1. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky865. [Epub ahead of print]

Coordinated protein and DNA conformational changes govern mismatch repair initiation by MutS.

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Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
Department of Physics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459, USA.
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


MutS homologs identify base-pairing errors made in DNA during replication and initiate their repair. In the presence of adenosine triphosphate, MutS induces DNA bending upon mismatch recognition and subsequently undergoes conformational transitions that promote its interaction with MutL to signal repair. In the absence of MutL, these transitions lead to formation of a MutS mobile clamp that can move along the DNA. Previous single-molecule FRET (smFRET) studies characterized the dynamics of MutS DNA-binding domains during these transitions. Here, we use protein-DNA and DNA-DNA smFRET to monitor DNA conformational changes, and we use kinetic analyses to correlate DNA and protein conformational changes to one another and to the steps on the pathway to mobile clamp formation. The results reveal multiple sequential structural changes in both MutS and DNA, and they suggest that DNA dynamics play a critical role in the formation of the MutS mobile clamp. Taking these findings together with data from our previous studies, we propose a unified model of coordinated MutS and DNA conformational changes wherein initiation of mismatch repair is governed by a balance of DNA bending/unbending energetics and MutS conformational changes coupled to its nucleotide binding properties.


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