Mechanism of loading the Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III sliding clamp: II. Uncoupling the beta and DNA binding activities of the gamma complex

J Biol Chem. 2004 Feb 6;279(6):4386-93. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M310430200. Epub 2003 Nov 10.


Sliding clamps tether DNA polymerases to DNA to increase the processivity of synthesis. The Escherichia coli gamma complex loads the beta sliding clamp onto DNA in an ATP-dependent reaction in which ATP binding and hydrolysis modulate the affinity of the gamma complex for beta and DNA. This is the second of two reports (Williams, C. R., Snyder, A. K., Kuzmic, P., O'Donnell, M., and Bloom, L. B. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 4376-4385) addressing the question of how ATP binding and hydrolysis regulate specific interactions with DNA and beta. Mutations were made to an Arg residue in a conserved SRC motif in the delta' and gamma subunits that interacts with the ATP site of the neighboring gamma subunit. Mutation of the delta' subunit reduced the ATP-dependent beta binding activity, whereas mutation of the gamma subunits reduced the DNA binding activity of the gamma complex. The gamma complex containing the delta' mutation gave a pre-steady-state burst of ATP hydrolysis, but at a reduced rate and amplitude relative to the wild-type gamma complex. A pre-steady-state burst of ATP hydrolysis was not observed for the complex containing the gamma mutations, consistent with the reduced DNA binding activity of this complex. The differential effects of these mutations suggest that ATP binding at the gamma1 site may be coupled to conformational changes that largely modulate interactions with beta, whereas ATP binding at the gamma2 and/or gamma3 site may be coupled to conformational changes that have a major role in interactions with DNA. Additionally, these results show that the "arginine fingers" play a structural role in facilitating the formation of a conformation that has high affinity for beta and DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • DNA Polymerase III / chemistry
  • DNA Polymerase III / genetics
  • DNA Polymerase III / metabolism*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Kinetics
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Subunits


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Protein Subunits
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • DNA Polymerase III