Substrate rescue of DNA polymerase β containing a catastrophic L22P mutation.

PMID 24655288


DNA polymerase (pol) β is a multidomain enzyme with two enzymatic activities that plays a central role in the overlapping base excision repair and single-strand break repair pathways. The high frequency of pol β variants identified in tumor-derived tissues suggests a possible role in the progression of cancer, making the determination of the functional consequences of these variants of interest. Pol β containing a proline substitution for leucine 22 in the lyase domain (LD), identified in gastric tumors, has been reported to exhibit severe impairment of both lyase and polymerase activities. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic evaluations of both pol β and the isolated LD containing the L22P mutation demonstrate destabilization sufficient to result in LD-selective unfolding with minimal structural perturbations to the polymerase domain. Unexpectedly, addition of single-stranded or hairpin DNA resulted in partial refolding of the mutated lyase domain, both in isolation and for the full-length enzyme. Further, formation of an abortive ternary complex using Ca(2+) and a complementary dNTP indicates that the fraction of pol β(L22P) containing the folded LD undergoes conformational activation similar to that of the wild-type enzyme. Kinetic characterization of the polymerase activity of L22P pol β indicates that the L22P mutation compromises DNA binding, but nearly wild-type catalytic rates can be observed at elevated substrate concentrations. The organic osmolyte trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is similarly able to induce folding and kinetic activation of both polymerase and lyase activities of the mutant. Kinetic data indicate synergy between the TMAO cosolvent and substrate binding. NMR data indicate that the effect of the DNA results primarily from interaction with the folded LD(L22P), while the effect of the TMAO results primarily from destabilization of the unfolded LD(L22P). These studies illustrate that substrate-induced catalytic activation of pol β provides an optimal enzyme conformation even in the presence of a strongly destabilizing point mutation. Accordingly, it remains to be determined whether this mutation alters the threshold of cellular repair activity needed for routine genome maintenance or whether the "inactive" variant interferes with DNA repair.