Common mechanisms for viral DNA replication

Jan 23, 2007

How DNA replicates is a critical question for understanding life. DNA replication remains difficult to investigate in eukaryotes,where it occurs within the confines of the double-membrane nucleus.

However, the process is far easier to study in the much simpler virus. In simian virus 40 (SV40), the large T-antigen protein (T-ag) is responsible for recognizing DNA sequences required to start replication, called the origin of replication. SV40 T-ag can also cause DNA to melt or unwind.

In a new study published online in the open access journal PLoS Biology, Gretchen Meinke, Andrew Bohm, and colleagues report the crystal structure of the DNA-binding domain of SV40 T-ag on a DNA fragment derived from the viral origin of replication.

The structure shows that although T-ag and its functionally analogous protein, papilloma virus E1, share no detectable sequence homology in this region, the two domains bind the DNA in similar ways. In both cases, DNA binding is thought to initiate assembly of a complex of the full-length proteins on DNA. Interestingly, SV40 T-ag DNA-binding domains do not interact with one another when bound to DNA. In addition to describing the molecular details of the DNA–protein interactions and the alterations in protein structure induced by DNA binding, we present a model describing the subsequent assembly events.

Citation: Citation: Meinke G, Phelan P, Moine S, Bochkareva E, Bochkarev A, et al. (2007) The crystal structure of the SV40 T-antigen origin binding domain in complex with DNA. PLoS Biol 5(2): e23. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050023.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Pollution linked to lethal sea turtle tumors

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are the world's religions ready for ET?

5 minutes ago

In 1930, Albert Einstein was asked for his opinion about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. "Other beings, perhaps, but not men," he answered. Then he was asked whether science and religion ...

Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells

6 minutes ago

Using a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, blades of grass, an international research team led by Alejandro Briseno of the University of Massachusetts Amherst ...

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

45 minutes ago

Evidence of new behaviour being adopted and transmitted socially from one individual to another within a wild chimpanzee community is publishing on September 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology. This i ...

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

45 minutes ago

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went ...

Group: Wildlife populations down drastically

20 hours ago

Populations of about 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have plummeted far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the world's biggest environmental groups.

Recommended for you

World's first microbe 'zoo' opens in Amsterdam

1 hour ago

The world's first "interactive microbe zoo" opened in Amsterdam on Tuesday, shining new light on the tiny creatures that make up two-thirds of all living matter and are vital for our planet's future.

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

2 hours ago

Evidence of new behaviour being adopted and transmitted socially from one individual to another within a wild chimpanzee community is publishing on September 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology. This i ...

User comments : 0