Simulating the effect of DNA polymerase mutations on transition-state energetics and fidelity: evaluating amino acid group contribution and allosteric coupling for ionized residues in human pol beta

Biochemistry. 2006 Jun 13;45(23):7036-48. doi: 10.1021/bi060147o.


The control of the catalytic power and fidelity of DNA polymerases involves the complex combined effect of the protein residues, the Mg2+ ions, and the interaction between the DNA bases. In an attempt to advance the understanding of catalytic control, we analyze the effect of the protein residues, taking human DNA polymerase beta as a model system. Specifically, we examine the ability of different theoretical models to reproduce the effect of ionized residues on the transition state (TS) binding energy and the corresponding k(pol)/KD. We also explore the role of the Mg2+ ions in the binding and catalysis processes. The application of the microscopic linear response approximation (LRA) and the semimacroscopic PDLD/S-LRA methods to a benchmark of mutational studies produces a semiquantitative correlation and indicates that these methods can provide predictive power. However, pre-steady-state and steady-state kinetic studies currently available do not give a unique benchmark, owing principally to widely varying experimental conditions. We believe that a more uniform experimental benchmark is needed for further refinement of the theoretical models. The analysis of the correlation between the results obtained by a rigorous thermodynamic cycle and by simpler approximations indicates that the protein reorganization between the open, i.e., unbound, form and the closed form does not change the magnitude of the calculated mutational effects in a major way for the experimental data used in this study. The use of the PDLD/S-LRA group contributions allows us to construct energy-based correlation diagrams that can help toward understanding the coupling, i.e., transfer of information, between the base-binding and catalytic sites and to gain a deeper insight into the molecular basis of DNA replication fidelity. Our analysis suggests that the allosteric matrix obtained by subtracting the correlation matrix of the correct and incorrect base pairs should prove useful in exploring the information transfer occurring between the base-binding and catalytic sites. This type of treatment should be especially effective when coupled with structural studies of polymerase-DNA-base mispair ternary complexes and studies using polymerase double mutants. We discuss the potential of direct calculations of binding energy of the TS in a rational design of TS analogues and in drug design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Amino Acids / chemistry*
  • Binding Sites
  • Catalysis
  • DNA Polymerase beta / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Amino Acids
  • DNA Polymerase beta