The roles of Tyr391 and Tyr619 in RB69 DNA polymerase replication fidelity

J Mol Biol. 2007 Apr 20;368(1):18-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2007.01.067. Epub 2007 Feb 3.


In the family-B DNA polymerase of bacteriophage RB69, the conserved aromatic palm-subdomain residues Tyr391 and Tyr619 interact with the last primer-template base-pair. Tyr619 interacts via a water-mediated hydrogen bond with the phosphate of the terminal primer nucleotide. The main-chain amide of Tyr391 interacts with the corresponding template nucleotide. A hydrogen bond has been postulated between Tyr391 and the hydroxyl group of Tyr567, a residue that plays a key role in base discrimination. This hydrogen bond may be crucial for forcing an infrequent Tyr567 rotamer conformation and, when the bond is removed, may influence fidelity. We investigated the roles of these residues in replication fidelity in vivo employing phage T4 rII reversion assays and an rI forward assay. Tyr391 was replaced by Phe, Met and Ala, and Tyr619 by Phe. The Y391A mutant, reported previously to decrease polymerase affinity for incoming nucleotides, was unable to support DNA replication in vivo, so we used an in vitro fidelity assay. Tyr391F/M replacements affect fidelity only slightly, implying that the bond with Tyr567 is not essential for fidelity. The Y391A enzyme has no mutator phenotype in vitro. The Y619F mutant displays a complex profile of impacts on fidelity but has almost the same mutational spectrum as the parental enzyme. The Y619F mutant displays reduced DNA binding, processivity, and exonuclease activity on single-stranded DNA and double-stranded DNA substrates. The Y619F substitution would disrupt the hydrogen bond network at the primer terminus and may affect the alignment of the 3' primer terminus at the polymerase active site, slowing chemistry and overall DNA synthesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Replication / genetics
  • DNA Replication / physiology*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / physiology*
  • Gene Frequency
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Tyrosine / genetics
  • Tyrosine / physiology*
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / physiology*


  • Viral Proteins
  • Tyrosine
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • bacteriophage RB69 DNA polymerase