Indexed on: 26 May '98Published on: 26 May '98Published in: Journal of Molecular Biology
The RecBCD enzyme from Escherichia coli is an ATP-dependent nuclease and helicase. Two of its subunits, the RecB and RecD proteins, are DNA-dependent ATPases. We have purified RecB and RecD proteins with mutations in their consensus ATP binding sites to study the functions of these subunits in the ATP-dependent nuclease activities of RecBCD. Reconstituted heterotrimeric enzymes were prepared by mixing wild-type RecB or RecB-K29Q mutant protein (RecB*) with purified RecC protein, and with a histidine-tagged wild-type RecD (hD) or mutant hRecD-K177Q (hD*) protein. RecBCD and all four reconstituted enzymes (wild-type, two single mutants, and the double mutant) cleave a single-stranded DNA oligomer substrate (25-mer) in the absence of ATP at rates of 0.03 to 0.06 min-1. The nuclease reaction catalyzed by RecB*ChD* is not stimulated significantly by ATP, while the reactions catalyzed by RecBCD, RecBChD, RecBChD*, and RecB*ChD are 300 to 3000 fold faster in the presence of 0.5 mM ATP. RecB*ChD* also has very low ATP hydrolysis activity (approximately 10(3)-fold less than RecBCD), as do the individual mutant RecB* and hRecD* proteins (approximately 100-fold less than RecB or hRecD). The products from the ATP-stimulated nuclease reaction with the oligomer substrate suggest a mechanism where two DNA molecules bind to the enzyme in opposite orientations and are cleaved by the nuclease active site. Cleavage towards the 3'-end of one oligomer (observed with RecBChD*) depends on the wild-type RecB subunit, while RecD-dependent cleavage (observed with RecB*ChD) occurs towards the 5'-end of the second bound oligomer.