1887

Abstract

The Mycobacterium fortuitum plasmid, pAL5000, is the most-studied member of a family of plasmids that are found in Actinobacteria. Its replication is brought about by the combined action of two plasmid-encoded replication proteins, RepA and RepB. RepB has earlier been shown to be a sigma factor homologue that possesses origin-binding activity. The mechanism by which RepA functions, and its relationship with RepB, if any, has not been explored yet. In this study, we show that RepA shares a common catalytic domain, with proteins belonging to the primase-polymerase and DNA polymerase X families. We demonstrate that RepA is functionally a DNA polymerase and that mutations that alter two conserved aspartic acid residues present within the catalytic core lead to inactivation of plasmid replication. Replication of pAL5000 was shown not to depend on the host primase, and thus it is most likely that RepA is responsible for the priming act. We further demonstrate that RepA and RepB function as a pair and that the functional cooperation between the two requires physical contact. The C-terminal domain of RepA, which is structurally a helical bundle, is responsible for unwinding the origin in a site-specific manner and also for the establishment of contacts with RepB. The results presented show that RepB functions by recruiting RepA to the origin in much the same way as sigma factors recruit RNA polymerase core enzyme to promoters.

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2017-04-22
2019-10-14
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