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Title: Kinetic and structural mechanism for DNA unwinding by a non-hexameric helicase

UvrD, a model for non-hexameric Superfamily 1 helicases, utilizes ATP hydrolysis to translocate stepwise along single-stranded DNA and unwind the duplex. Previous estimates of its step size have been indirect, and a consensus on its stepping mechanism is lacking. To dissect the mechanism underlying DNA unwinding, we use optical tweezers to measure directly the stepping behavior of UvrD as it processes a DNA hairpin and show that UvrD exhibits a variable step size averaging ~3 base pairs. Analyzing stepping kinetics across ATP reveals the type and number of catalytic events that occur with different step sizes. These single-molecule data reveal a mechanism in which UvrD moves one base pair at a time but sequesters the nascent single strands, releasing them non-uniformly after a variable number of catalytic cycles. Molecular dynamics simulations point to a structural basis for this behavior, identifying the protein-DNA interactions responsible for strand sequestration. Based on structural and sequence alignment data, we propose that this stepping mechanism may be conserved among other non-hexameric helicases.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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