Crystal structure of the Redβ C-terminal domain in complex with λ Exonuclease reveals an unexpected homology with λ Orf and an interaction with Escherichia coli single stranded DNA binding protein.

Caldwell BJ, Zakharova E, Filsinger GT, Wannier TM, Hempfling JP, Chun-Der L, Pei D, Church GM, Bell CE
Nucleic Acids Res 47 1950-1963 02/28/2019


Bacteriophage λ encodes a DNA recombination system that includes a 5'-3' exonuclease (λ Exo) and a single strand annealing protein (Redβ). The two proteins form a complex that is thought to mediate loading of Redβ directly onto the single-stranded 3'-overhang generated by λ Exo. Here, we present a 2.3 Å crystal structure of the λ Exo trimer bound to three copies of the Redβ C-terminal domain (CTD). Mutation of residues at the hydrophobic core of the interface disrupts complex formation in vitro and impairs recombination in vivo. The Redβ CTD forms a three-helix bundle with unexpected structural homology to phage λ Orf, a protein that binds to E. coli single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) to function as a recombination mediator. Based on this relationship, we found that Redβ binds to full-length SSB, and to a peptide corresponding to its nine C-terminal residues, in an interaction that requires the CTD. These results suggest a dual role of the CTD, first in binding to λ Exo to facilitate loading of Redβ directly onto the initial single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) at a 3'-overhang, and second in binding to SSB to facilitate annealing of the overhang to SSB-coated ssDNA at the replication fork.

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