DNA precursor biosynthesis-allosteric regulation and medical applications
Abstract: Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) is a key enzyme for de novo dNTP biosynthesis. We have studied nucleotide-dependent oligomerization of the allosterically regulated mammalian RNR using a mass spectrometry–related technique called Gas-phase Electrophoretic Mobility Macromolecule Analysis (GEMMA). Our results showed that dATP and ATP induce the formation of an ?6?2 protein complex. This complex can either be active or inactive depending on whether ATP or dATP is bound.In order to understand whether formation of the large complexes is a general feature in the class Ia RNRs, we compared the mammalian RNR to the E. coli enzyme. The E. coli protein is regarded a prototype for all class Ia RNRs. We found that the E. coli RNR cycles between an active ?2?2 form (in the presence of ATP, dTTP or dGTP) and an inactive ?4?4 form in the presence of dATP or a combination of ATP with dTTP/dGTP. The E. coli R1 mutant (H59A) which needs higher dATP concentrations to be inhibited than the wild-type enzyme had decreased ability to form these complexes. It remains to be discovered how the regulation functions in the mammalian enzyme where both the active and inactive forms are ?6?2 complexes.An alternative way to produce dNTPs is via salvage biosynthesis where deoxyribonucleosides are taken up from outside the cell and phosphorylated by deoxyribonucleoside kinases. We have found that the pathogen Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African sleeping sickness, has a very efficient salvage of adenosine, deoxyadenosine and adenosine analogs such as adenine arabinoside (Ara-A). One of the conclusions made was that this nucleoside analog is phosphorylated by the T. brucei adenosine kinase and kills the parasite by causing nucleotide pool imbalances and by incorporation into nucleic acids. Ara-A-based therapies can hopefully be developed into new medicines against African sleeping sickness.Generally, the dNTPs produced from the de novo and salvage pathways can be imported into mitochondria and participate in mtDNA replication. The minimal mtDNA replisome contains DNA polymerase ?A, DNA polymerase ?B, helicase (TWINKLE) and the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (mtSSB). Here, it was demonstrated that the primase-related domain (N-terminal region) of the TWINKLE protein lacked primase activity and instead contributes to single-stranded DNA binding and DNA helicase activities. This region is not absolutely required for mitochondrial DNA replisome function but is needed for the formation of long DNA products.
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