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Biochemistry. 1993 Sep 21;32(37):9735-44.

Bacteriophage T4 gene 32 protein: modulation of protein-nucleic acid and protein-protein association by structural domains.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland Baltimore County 21228.


The cooperative binding of bacteriophage T4 gene 32 protein to single-stranded nucleic acids is dependent on homotypic protein-protein interactions between the N-terminus of a protein monomer with the core domain of an adjacent protein. In a previous report [Casas-Finet et al. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89, 1050-1054], we demonstrated that synthetic peptides corresponding to various portions of the N-terminal B-domain (residues 1-21) formed a 1:1 complex with core domain and identified a sequence, residues 3-5, Lys-Arg-Lys-Ser-Thr (the LAST motif) strongly homologous to a sequence within the central portion of protein (core domain) that was likely to function in nucleic acid binding. On the basis of these observations, we proposed a model where cooperative binding involves an exchange of intramolecular protein-protein interactions involving the internal LAST sequence for intermolecular protein-protein interactions utilizing the N-terminal LAST sequence. In this paper, we have tested various predictions of the model, and utilizing several proteases, further have defined the domain structure of 32 protein. The interaction of peptides containing LAST sequences with 32 protein qualitatively reduces its binding cooperativity, indicating that the peptides bind at the same site within the core domain as the N-terminus of an adjacent intact protein bound to the polynucleotide lattice. As expected, these peptides bind to nucleic acids. The N-terminus of 32 protein is predicted to be largely alpha-helical, and the circular dichroism spectrum of a peptide corresponding to residues 1-17 is consistent with this prediction. On the basis of the magnitude of protein tryptophan fluorescence quenching, the conformational change in 32 protein brought about by LAST peptides may be similar to that effected by oligonucleotides. As predicted by our model, in the presence of interacting peptide, the binding of 32 protein to oligonucleotide becomes salt-dependent. Arg-C endoproteolysis of intact 32 protein indicates that the loss of as few as three or four amino acids from the N-terminus appears to eliminate binding cooperativity, although the remainder of the N-terminal B-domain appears to protect the core from proteolysis. In contrast, this enzyme will catalyze the breakdown of trypsin-generated core domain, which lacks the first 21 residues of the protein. Thus, the presence of residues 4/5-21 attached to core alters its conformation and/or accessibility to protease. Poly(dT) inhibits this digestion, whereas the presence of N-terminal peptide accelerates proteolysis, in agreement with our model.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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