Sliding clamps are ring-shaped protein complexes that are integral to the DNA replication machinery of all life. Sliding clamps are opened and installed onto DNA by clamp loader AAA+ ATPase complexes. However, how a clamp loader opens and closes the sliding clamp around DNA is still unknown. Here, we describe structures of the S. cerevisiae clamp loader Replication Factor C (RFC) bound to its cognate sliding clamp Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) en route to successful loading. RFC first binds to PCNA in a dynamic, closed conformation that blocks both ATPase activity and DNA binding. RFC then opens the PCNA ring through a large-scale 'crab-claw' expansion of both RFC and PCNA that explains how RFC prefers initial binding of PCNA over DNA. Next, the open RFC:PCNA complex binds DNA and interrogates the primer-template junction using a surprising base-flipping mechanism. Our structures indicate that initial PCNA opening and subsequent closure around DNA do not require ATP hydrolysis, but are driven by binding energy. ATP hydrolysis, which is necessary for RFC release, is triggered by interactions with both PCNA and DNA, explaining RFC’s switch-like ATPase activity. Our work reveals how a AAA+ machine undergoes dramatic conformational changes for achieving binding preference and substrate remodeling.
All coordinates and cryoEM maps were deposited in the PDB and EMDB during revision.
- Brian A Kelch PhD
- Christl Gaubitz
- Christl Gaubitz
- Gabriel Demo
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Franziska Bleichert, Yale University, United States
© 2022, Gaubitz et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Prestin responds to transmembrane voltage fluctuations by changing its cross-sectional area, a process underlying the electromotility of outer hair cells and cochlear amplification. Prestin belongs to the SLC26 family of anion transporters yet is the only member capable of displaying electromotility. Prestin’s voltage-dependent conformational changes are driven by the putative displacement of residue R399 and a set of sparse charged residues within the transmembrane domain, following the binding of a Cl− anion at a conserved binding site formed by the amino termini of the TM3 and TM10 helices. However, a major conundrum arises as to how an anion that binds in proximity to a positive charge (R399), can promote the voltage sensitivity of prestin. Using hydrogen–deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, we find that prestin displays an unstable anion-binding site, where folding of the amino termini of TM3 and TM10 is coupled to Cl− binding. This event shortens the TM3–TM10 electrostatic gap, thereby connecting the two helices, resulting in reduced cross-sectional area. These folding events upon anion binding are absent in SLC26A9, a non-electromotile transporter closely related to prestin. Dynamics of prestin embedded in a lipid bilayer closely match that in detergent micelle, except for a destabilized lipid-facing helix TM6 that is critical to prestin’s mechanical expansion. We observe helix fraying at prestin’s anion-binding site but cooperative unfolding of multiple lipid-facing helices, features that may promote prestin’s fast electromechanical rearrangements. These results highlight a novel role of the folding equilibrium of the anion-binding site, and help define prestin’s unique voltage-sensing mechanism and electromotility.
Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are trimeric proton-gated sodium channels. Recent work has shown that these channels play a role in necroptosis following prolonged acidic exposure like occurs in stroke. The C-terminus of ASIC1a is thought to mediate necroptotic cell death through interaction with receptor interacting serine threonine kinase 1 (RIPK1). This interaction is hypothesized to be inhibited at rest via an interaction between the C- and N-termini which blocks the RIPK1 binding site. Here, we use two transition metal ion FRET methods to investigate the conformational dynamics of the termini at neutral and acidic pH. We do not find evidence that the termini are close enough to be bound while the channel is at rest and find that the termini may modestly move closer together during acidification. At rest, the N-terminus adopts a conformation parallel to the membrane about 10 Å away. The distal end of the C-terminus may also spend time close to the membrane at rest. After acidification, the proximal portion of the N-terminus moves marginally closer to the membrane whereas the distal portion of the C-terminus swings away from the membrane. Together these data suggest that a new hypothesis for RIPK1 binding during stroke is needed.