UvsY is the recombination mediator protein (RMP) of bacteriophage T4, which promotes homologous recombination by facilitating presynaptic filament assembly. The results of previous studies suggest that UvsY promotes the assembly of presynaptic filaments in part by stabilizing interactions between T4 UvsX recombinase and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). To test this hypothesis, we studied the interactions of UvsX and UvsY with a fluorescein-derivatized oligonucleotide. This assay distinguishes between bipartite UvsX- or UvsY-ssDNA and tripartite UvsX-UvsY-ssDNA complex formation via differential fluorescence quenching effects. Salt stabilities of the three complexes were measured at equilibrium in the presence and absence of various nucleotide ligands of the UvsX protein and also under steady-state conditions for UvsX-catalyzed ssDNA-dependent ATP hydrolysis. The results demonstrate that UvsY globally stabilizes UvsX-ssDNA complexes, consistent with an increase in the apparent equilibrium binding affinity, Kssω, of the UvsX-ssDNA interactions. The UvsY-mediated affinity increase is observed at equilibrium in the presence of ADP, ATPγS, or in the absence of the nucleotide and also at steady-state in the presence of ATP. Intriguingly, the stabilizing effects of UvsY and ATPyS on UvsX-ssDNA interactions are synergistic, indicating nonredundant mechanisms for UvsX-ssDNA complex stabilization by RMP versus nucleoside triphosphate effectors. Experiments with UvsY missense mutants defective in ssDNA binding demonstrate that UvsY-ssDNA interactions are of major importance in stabilizing UvsX-ssDNA complexes, whereas UvsY-UvsX protein-protein interactions provide residual stabilization energy. Together, the data is consistent with a mechanism in which UvsY stabilizes presynaptic filaments by organizing the ssDNA lattice into a structure that is favorable for UvsX-ssDNA interactions.
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