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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hybrid Methods Reveal Multiple Flexibly Linked DNA Polymerases within the Bacteriophage T7 Replisome.


The physical organization of DNA enzymes at a replication fork enables efficient copying of two antiparallel DNA strands, yet dynamic protein interactions within the replication complex complicate replisome structural studies. We employed a combination of crystallographic, native mass spectrometry and small-angle X-ray scattering experiments to capture alternative structures of a model replication system encoded by bacteriophage T7. Two molecules of DNA polymerase bind the ring-shaped primase-helicase in a conserved orientation and provide structural insight into how the acidic C-terminal tail of the primase-helicase contacts the DNA polymerase to facilitate loading of the polymerase onto DNA. A third DNA polymerase binds the ring in an offset manner that may enable polymerase exchange during replication. Alternative polymerase binding modes are also detected by small-angle X-ray scattering with DNA substrates present. Our collective results unveil complex motions within T7 replisome higher-order structures that are underpinned by multivalent protein-protein interactions with functional implications.

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