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    Structural basis for DNA strand separation by a hexameric replicative helicase

    Chaban, Yuriy and Stead, J.A. and Ryzhenkova, Ksenia and Whelan, F. and Lamber, Katerina and Antson, A. and Sanders, C.M. and Orlova, Elena (2015) Structural basis for DNA strand separation by a hexameric replicative helicase. Nucleic Acids Research 43 (17), pp. 8551-8563. ISSN 0305-1048.

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    Hexameric helicases are processive DNA unwinding machines but how they engage with a replication fork during unwinding is unknown. Using electron microscopy and single particle analysis we determined structures of the intact hexameric helicase E1 from papillomavirus and two complexes of E1 bound to a DNA replication fork end-labelled with protein tags. By labelling a DNA replication fork with streptavidin (dsDNA end) and Fab (5′ ssDNA) we located the positions of these labels on the helicase surface, showing that at least 10 bp of dsDNA enter the E1 helicase via a side tunnel. In the currently accepted ‘steric exclusion’ model for dsDNA unwinding, the active 3′ ssDNA strand is pulled through a central tunnel of the helicase motor domain as the dsDNA strands are wedged apart outside the protein assembly. Our structural observations together with nuclease footprinting assays indicate otherwise: strand separation is taking place inside E1 in a chamber above the helicase domain and the 5′ passive ssDNA strands exits the assembly through a separate tunnel opposite to the dsDNA entry point. Our data therefore suggest an alternative to the current general model for DNA unwinding by hexameric helicases.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Structural Molecular Biology, Institute of (ISMB)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2015 16:26
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:18


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