The Loop of the TPR1 Subdomain of Phi29 DNA Polymerase Plays a Pivotal Role in Primer-Terminus Stabilization at the Polymerization Active Site

Biomolecules. 2019 Oct 24;9(11):648. doi: 10.3390/biom9110648.


Bacteriophage Phi29 DNA polymerase belongs to the protein-primed subgroup of family B DNA polymerases that use a terminal protein (TP) as a primer to initiate genome replication. The resolution of the crystallographic structure showed that it consists of an N-terminal domain with the exonuclease activity and a C-terminal polymerization domain. It also has two subdomains specific of the protein-primed DNA polymerases; the TP Regions 1 (TPR1) that interacts with TP and DNA, and 2 (TPR2), that couples both processivity and strand displacement to the enzyme. The superimposition of the structures of the apo polymerase and the polymerase in the polymerase/TP heterodimer shows that the structural changes are restricted almost to the TPR1 loop (residues 304-314). In order to study the role of this loop in binding the DNA and the TP, we changed the residues Arg306, Arg308, Phe309, Tyr310, and Lys311 into alanine, and also made the deletion mutant Δ6 lacking residues Arg306-Lys311. The results show a defective TP binding capacity in mutants R306A, F309A, Y310A, and Δ6. The additional impaired primer-terminus stabilization at the polymerization active site in mutants Y310A and Δ6 allows us to propose a role for the Phi29 DNA polymerase TPR1 loop in the proper positioning of the DNA and TP-priming 3'-OH termini at the preinsertion site of the polymerase to enable efficient initiation and further elongation steps during Phi29 TP-DNA replication.

Keywords: DNA polymerase; protein-priming; replication; terminal protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalytic Domain
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Polymerization
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • Viral Proteins
  • terminal protein, Bacillus phage phi29
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase