Interaction of the bacteriophage T4 gene 59 helicase loading protein and gene 41 helicase with each other and with fork, flap, and cruciform DNA

J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 1;275(35):27145-54. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M003808200.


Bacteriophage T4 gene 59 helicase loading protein accelerates the loading of T4 gene 41 DNA helicase and is required for recombination-dependent DNA replication late in T4 phage infection. The crystal structure of 59 protein revealed a two-domain alpha-helical protein, whose N-terminal domain has strong structural similarity to the DNA binding domain of high mobility group family proteins (Mueser, T. C., Jones, C. E., Nossal, N. G., and Hyde, C. C. (2000) J. Mol. Biol. 296, 597-612). We have previously shown that 59 protein binds preferentially to fork DNA. Here we show that 59 protein binds to completely duplex forks but cannot load the helicase unless there is a single-stranded gap of more than 5 nucleotides on the fork arm corresponding to the lagging strand template. Consistent with the roles of these proteins in recombination, we find that 59 protein binds to and stimulates 41 helicase activity on Holliday junction DNA, and on a substrate that resembles a strand invasion structure. 59 protein forms a stable complex with wild type 41 helicase and fork DNA in the presence of adenosine 5'-O-(thiotriphosphate). The unwinding activity of 41 helicase missing 20 C-terminal amino acids is not stimulated by 59 protein, and it does not form a complex with 59 protein on fork DNA.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / genetics
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • gene 41 protein, Enterobacteria phage T4
  • gene 59 protein, Enterobacteria phage T4
  • DNA
  • DNA Helicases
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I

Associated data

  • PDB/1C1K