Dynamics of bacteriophage T4 presynaptic filament assembly from extrinsic fluorescence measurements of Gp32-single-stranded DNA interactions

Jie Liu, Na Qian, Scott W. Morrical

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the bacteriophage T4 homologous recombination system, presynaptic filament assembly on single-stranded (ssDNA) DNA requires UvsX recombinase, UvsY mediator, and Gp32 ssDNA-binding proteins. Gp32 exerts both positive and negative effects on filament assembly: positive by denaturing ssDNA secondary structure, and negative by competing with UvsX for ssDNA binding sites. UvsY is believed to help UvsX displace Gp32 from the ssDNA. To test this model we developed a real-time fluorescence assay for Gp32-ssDNA interactions during presynapsis, based on changes in the fluorescence of a 6- iodoacetamidofluorescein-Gp32 conjugate. Results demonstrate that the formation of UvsX presynaptic filaments progressively disrupts Gp32-ssDNA interactions. Under stringent salt conditions the disruption of Gp32-ssDNA by UvsX is both ATP- and UvsY-dependent. The displacement of Gp32 from ssDNA during presynapsis requires ATP binding, but not ATP hydrolysis, by UvsX protein. Likewise, UvsY-mediated presynapsis strongly requires UvsY-ssDNA interactions, and is optimal at a 1:1 stoichiometry of UvsY to UvsX and/or ssDNA binding sites. Presynaptic filaments formed in the presence of UvsY undergo assembly/ collapse that is tightly coupled to the ATP hydrolytic cycle and to stringent competition for ssDNA binding sites between Gp32 and various nucleotide-liganded forms of UvsX. The data directly support the Gp32 displacement model of UvsY-mediated presynaptic filament assembly, and demonstrate that the transient induction of high affinity UvsX-ssDNA interactions by ATP are essential, although not sufficient, for Gp32 displacement. The underlying dynamics of protein-ssDNA interactions within presynaptic filaments suggests that rearrangements of UvsX, UvsY, and Gp32 proteins on ssDNA may be coupled to central processes in T4 recombination metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26308-26319
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 8 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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