Reduced structural flexibility for an exonuclease deficient DNA polymerase III mutant†
DNA synthesis, carried out by DNA polymerases, requires balancing speed and accuracy for faithful replication of the genome. High fidelity DNA polymerases contain a 3′–5′ exonuclease domain that can remove misincorporated nucleotides on the 3′ end of the primer strand, a process called proofreading. The E. coli replicative polymerase, DNA polymerase III, has spatially separated (∼55 Å apart) polymerase and exonuclease subunits. Here, we report on the dynamics of E. coli DNA polymerase III proofreading in the presence of its processivity factor, the β2-sliding clamp, at varying base pair termini using single-molecule FRET. We find that the binding kinetics do not depend on the base identity at the termini, indicating a tolerance for DNA mismatches. Further, our single-molecule data and MD simulations show two previously unobserved features: (1) DNA Polymerase III is a highly dynamic protein that adopts multiple conformational states while bound to DNA with matched or mismatched ends, and (2) an exonuclease-deficient DNA polymerase III has reduced conformational flexibility. Overall, our single-molecule experiments provide high time-resolution insight into a mechanism that ensures high fidelity DNA replication to maintain genome integrity.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2018 PCCP HOT Articles