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J Biol Chem. 1996 Feb 23;271(8):4261-5.

Global conformational transitions in Escherichia coli primary replicative helicase DnaB protein induced by ATP, ADP, and single-stranded DNA binding. Multiple conformational states of the helicase hexamer.

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Department of Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 77555-1053, USA.


The direct evidence of dramatic conformational changes of the DnaB hexamer, induced by nucleotide binding, and the presence of multiple conformational states of the enzyme have been obtained by using analytical sedimentation equilibrium, sedimentation velocity studies, and the rigorous fluorescence titration technique. Equilibrium sedimentation measurements show that in the presence of the ATP nonhydrolyzable analog, AMP-PNP, the DnaB helicase fully preserves its hexameric structure. However, in the presence of the saturating concentration of AMP-PNP, the sedimentation coefficient of the hexamer is s20,w = 11.9 +/- 0.2 compared to the sedimentation coefficient s20,w = 10.5 +/- 0.2 of the free DnaB helicase hexamer. This large sedimentation coefficient change indicates dramatic global conformational transitions of the hexamer, encompassing all six subunits, upon binding the ATP analog. In the presence of ADP, the sedimentation coefficient is s20,w = 11.4 +/- 0.2, indicating that the conformation of the ADP form of the hexamer is different from the ATP form. The sedimentation coefficient of the ternary complex DnaB-(AMP-PNP)-depsilonA(pepsilonA)19, s20,w = 12.4, suggests that the DnaB helicase undergoes further conformational changes upon binding single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). The large global structural changes correlate with the functional activities of the enzyme. In the absence of the ATP analog, the hexamer exists in a "closed" conformation which has extremely low affinity toward ssDNA. Upon binding the ATP analog, the DnaB hexamer transforms into a "tense" state which binds ssDNA with an affinity of approximately 4 orders of magnitude higher than in the absence of the nucleotide. In the presence of ADP, the DnaB hexamer assumes a "relaxed" conformation. The functional difference between these two conformations is reflected in the much weaker allosteric effect of ADP on the ssDNA binding with the affinity constant approximately 3 orders of magnitude weaker than in the presence of the ATP analog (tense state).

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