Date of Award
Master of Science
Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Scott W. Nelson
The Mre11/Rad50 (MR) from bacteriophage complex is a central player in DNA repair and is implicated in the processing of DNA ends caused by double strand breaks. Here, the activities of the T4 MR complex are described and its modulation by proteins involved in homologous recombination. T4 Mre11 is a Rad50- and Mn2+-dependent dsDNA exonuclease and ssDNA endonuclease. ATP hydrolysis is required for the removal of multiple nucleotides via dsDNA exonuclease activity but not for the removal of the first nucleotide or for ssDNA endonuclease activity, indicating ATP hydrolysis is only required for repetitive nucleotide removal. By itself, Rad50 is a relatively inefficient ATPase, but the presence of Mre11 and dsDNA increases ATP hydrolysis by 20-fold. The ATP hydrolysis reaction exhibits positive cooperativity with Hill coefficients ranging from 1.4 for Rad50 alone to 2.4 for the Rad50/Mre11/DNA complex. Kinetic assays suggest that approximately four nucleotides are removed per ATP hydrolyzed. Directionality assays indicate that the prevailing activity is a 3'to 5' dsDNA exonuclease, which is incompatible with the proposed role of MR in the production of 3' ssDNA ends. Interestingly, we found that in the presence of a recombination mediator protein (UvsY) and ssDNA binding protein (gp32), Mre11 is capable of using Mg2+ as a cofactor for its nuclease activity. Additionally, the Mg2+-dependent nuclease activity, activated by UvsY and gp32, results in the formation of endonuclease reaction products. These results suggest that gp32 and UvsY may alter divalent cation preference and facilitate the formation of a 3' ssDNA overhang, which is a necessary intermediate for recombination-mediated double-strand break repair.
The importance of the T4 Mre11 dimeric interface is also described and how disrupting this interface affects enzymatic activity. A comparison of the Mre11 dimer interface from recent x-ray crystal structures suggests that the interface is dynamic in nature and may adopt several different arrangements. In order to probe the functional significance of the Mre11 dimer interface, we have generated and characterized a dimer disruption Mre11 mutant (L101D-Mre11). Recent crystal structures of the MR complex suggest that several conformational rearrangements occur during its ATP hydrolysis cycle. A comparison of the Mre11 dimer interface from recent x-ray crystal structures suggests that the interface is dynamic in nature and may adopt several different arrangements. In order to probe the functional significance of the Mre11 dimer interface, we have generated and characterized a dimer disruption Mre11 mutant (L101D-Mre11). Although L101D-Mre11 binds to Rad50 and dsDNA with affinity comparable to the wild-type enzyme, it does not activate the ATP hydrolysis activity of Rad50, suggesting that the allosteric communication between Mre11 and Rad50 has been interrupted. Additionally, the dsDNA exonuclease activity of the L101D-MR complex has been reduced by 10-fold under conditions where processive exonuclease activity is required. However, we unexpectedly found that under steady state conditions, the nuclease activity of the L101D-MR complex is 5-fold greater than that of the wild-type complex. Based on steady state and single-turnover nuclease assays, we have assigned the rate-determining step of the steady state nuclease reaction to be the productive assembly of the complex at the dsDNA end. Together, our data suggest that the Mre11 dimer interface adopts at least two different states during the exonuclease reaction.
Dustin William Albrecht
Albrecht, Dustin William, "Characterization of the T4 Mre11/Rad50 complex and investigation of the Mre11 dimeric interface" (2012). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 12671.