Mechanism of DNA polymerization catalyzed by Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV

Biochemistry. 2004 Feb 24;43(7):2116-25. doi: 10.1021/bi035746z.


The kinetic mechanism of DNA polymerization catalyzed by Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) is resolved by pre-steady-state kinetic analysis of single-nucleotide (dTTP) incorporation into a DNA 21/41-mer. Like replicative DNA polymerases, Dpo4 utilizes an "induced-fit" mechanism to select correct incoming nucleotides. The affinity of DNA and a matched incoming nucleotide for Dpo4 was measured to be 10.6 nM and 230 microM, respectively. Dpo4 binds DNA with an affinity similar to that of replicative polymerases due to the presence of an atypical little finger domain and a highly charged tether that links this novel domain to its small thumb domain. On the basis of the elemental effect between the incorporations of dTTP and its thio analogue S(p)-dTTPalphaS, the incorporation of a correct incoming nucleotide by Dpo4 was shown to be limited by the protein conformational change step preceding the chemistry step. In contrast, the chemistry step limited the incorporation of an incorrect nucleotide. The measured dissociation rates of the enzyme.DNA binary complex (0.02-0.07 s(-1)), the enzyme.DNA.dNTP ternary complex (0.41 s(-1)), and the ternary complex after the protein conformational change (0.004 s(-1)) are significantly different and support the existence of a bona fide protein conformational change step. The rate-limiting protein conformational change was further substantiated by the observation of different reaction amplitudes between pulse-quench and pulse-chase experiments. Additionally, the processivity of Dpo4 was calculated to be 16 at 37 degrees C from analysis of a processive polymerization experiment. The structural basis for both the protein conformational change and the low processivity of Dpo4 was discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Base Pair Mismatch
  • Binding Sites
  • Catalysis
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA Polymerase beta / chemistry*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA, Archaeal / biosynthesis*
  • DNA, Archaeal / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfolobus / enzymology*
  • Thymine Nucleotides / chemistry


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • DNA, Archaeal
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Thymine Nucleotides
  • DNA
  • calf thymus DNA
  • DNA Polymerase beta
  • thymidine 5'-triphosphate