Manganese Substantially Alters The Dynamics of Translesion DNA Synthesis

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The effect of metal ion substitution on the dynamics of translesion DNA synthesis catalyzed by the bacteriophage T4 DNA polymerase was quantitatively evaluated through steady-state and transient kinetic techniques. Substitution of Mn2+ for Mg2+ enhances the steady-state rate of dNMP misinsertion opposite an abasic site by 11−34-fold. At the molecular level, the enhancement in translesion DNA synthesis reflects a substantial increase in the rate of the conformational change preceding phosphoryl transfer for all dNTPs that were tested. This is best illustrated by the biphasic pre-steady-state time course of dAMP insertion opposite an abasic site which indicates that a step after chemistry is rate-limiting for steady-state enzyme turnover. Furthermore, the kpol value of 40 s-1 measured under single-turnover reaction conditions is 20-fold greater than the kcat value of 2 s-1 measured for steady-state enzyme turnover. Finally, the low elemental effect (∼2.4-fold reduction in kpol) measured by substituting the α-thiotriphosphate analogue for dATP further argues that chemistry is not rate-limiting. In contrast to the biphasic insertion of dAMP, pre-steady-state time courses for the insertion of dCMP, dGMP, or dTMP opposite an abasic site were linear. Nearly identical kpol values (∼1 s-1) were measured for the insertion of dCMP, dGMP, and dTMP opposite the abasic site using single-turnover conditions. However, the large elemental effects of 27 and 70 measured by substituting the α-thiotriphosphate analogues for dCTP and dGTP, respectively, suggest that phosphoryl transfer may be the rate-limiting step for their insertion opposite the abasic site. Various models are discussed in an attempt to explain the effect of metal ion substitution on the dynamics of translesion DNA replication.


This research was supported through funding from the Steris Foundation and the American Cancer Society (IRG-91-022-06-IRG) to the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland.