RB69 DNA polymerase structure, kinetics, and fidelity.

PMID 24720884


This review will summarize our structural and kinetic studies of RB69 DNA polymerase (RB69pol) as well as selected variants of the wild-type enzyme that were undertaken to obtain a deeper understanding of the exquisitely high fidelity of B family replicative DNA polymerases. We discuss how the structures of the various RB69pol ternary complexes can be used to rationalize the results obtained from pre-steady-state kinetic assays. Our main findings can be summarized as follows. (i) Interbase hydrogen bond interactions can increase catalytic efficiency by 5000-fold; meanwhile, base selectivity is not solely determined by the number of hydrogen bonds between the incoming dNTP and the templating base. (ii) Minor-groove hydrogen bond interactions at positions n - 1 and n - 2 of the primer strand and position n - 1 of the template strand in RB69pol ternary complexes are essential for efficient primer extension and base selectivity. (iii) Partial charge interactions among the incoming dNTP, the penultimate base pair, and the hydration shell surrounding the incoming dNTP modulate nucleotide insertion efficiency and base selectivity. (iv) Steric clashes between mismatched incoming dNTPs and templating bases with amino acid side chains in the nascent base pair binding pocket (NBP) as well as weak interactions and large gaps between the incoming dNTPs and the templating base are some of the reasons that incorrect dNTPs are incorporated so inefficiently by wild-type RB69pol. In addition, we developed a tC°-tCnitro Förster resonance energy transfer assay to monitor partitioning of the primer terminus between the polymerase and exonuclease subdomains.