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Bemeleit, Derk Julius (2008): Structural Characterization of the DNA Repair Protein Complex SbcC-SbcD of Thermotoga maritima. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy
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Abstract

DNA damage poses a considerable threat to genomic integrity and cell survival. One of the most harmful forms of DNA damage are double-strand breaks that arise spontaneously during regular DNA processing like replication or meiosis. In addition, they can also be induced by a variety of DNA damaging agents like UV light, cell toxins or anti-cancer drugs. Failure of the rapid repair of these breaks can lead to chromosomal rearrangements and ultimately tumorigenesis in humans. In response to these genomic threats, a highly developed DNA repair network of protein factors has evolved, where the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 (MRN) complex is sought to play a key role in sensing, processing and repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Orthologs of Mre11 and Rad50, but not Nbs1, are found in all taxonomic kingdoms of life, suggesting that Mre11 and Rad50 form the core of this complex. In this work structural studies were performed to decipher the overall architecture and the interaction of SbcC and SbcD, the bacterial orthologs of Rad50 and Mre11. Using X-ray crystallographic and small angle X-ray scattering techniques the crystal as well as the in solution structures of the Thermotoga maritima SbcC ATPase domain in complex with full-length SbcD were solved. The crystal and in solution structure match well fortifying the calculated models that reveal an open, elongated complex with dimensions of approximately 210 Å * 75 Å * 65 Å. The heterotetrameric protein assembly consists of two SbcD molecules that homodimerize at domains I to form the central portion of the complex. Located at the outer areas of this homodimer domains II are arranged close to lobe II of SbcC building a small protein-protein interface. The C-terminal domains III of SbcD are connected to domains II via a flexible linker and associate through hydrophobic interactions with the coiled-coils of SbcC. These arrangements in combination with earlier findings lead to a model where upon ATP-binding the complex performs a conformational switch resulting in a ring-shaped structure. This conformation would bear a central cavity to harbor DNA strands that can be processed by the inwards oriented nuclease active sites of SbcD.