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Cryo-EM Structure of a Relaxase Reveals the Molecular Basis of DNA Unwinding during Bacterial Conjugation

Ilangovan, A; Kay, CWM; Roier, S; El Mkami, H; Salvadori, E; Zechner, EL; Zanetti, G; (2017) Cryo-EM Structure of a Relaxase Reveals the Molecular Basis of DNA Unwinding during Bacterial Conjugation. Cell , 169 (4) 708-721.e12. 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.010. Green open access

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Abstract

Relaxases play essential roles in conjugation, the main process by which bacteria exchange genetic material, notably antibiotic resistance genes. They are bifunctional enzymes containing a trans-esterase activity, which is responsible for nicking the DNA strand to be transferred and for covalent attachment to the resulting 5′-phosphate end, and a helicase activity, which is responsible for unwinding the DNA while it is being transported to a recipient cell. Here we show that these two activities are carried out by two conformers that can both load simultaneously on the origin of transfer DNA. We solve the structure of one of these conformers by cryo electron microscopy to near-atomic resolution, elucidating the molecular basis of helicase function by relaxases and revealing insights into the mechanistic events taking place in the cell prior to substrate transport during conjugation.

Type: Article
Title: Cryo-EM Structure of a Relaxase Reveals the Molecular Basis of DNA Unwinding during Bacterial Conjugation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.010
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.010
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Escherichia-Coli K-12, IV Secretion System, Plasmid R1, TRAI, Cleavage, Translocation, Determinants, Relaxosome, Resolution, Binding
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1555403
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