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The multi-subunit replication factor C (RFC) complex loads circular proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) clamps onto DNA where they serve as mobile tethers for polymerases and coordinate the functions of many other DNA metabolic proteins. The clamp loading reaction is complex, involving multiple components (RFC, PCNA, DNA, and ATP) and events (minimally: PCNA opening/closing, DNA binding/release, and ATP binding/hydrolysis) that yield a topologically linked clamp·DNA product in less than a second. Here, we report pre-steady-state measurements of several steps in the reaction catalyzed by Saccharomyces cerevisiae RFC and present a comprehensive kinetic model based on global analysis of the data. Highlights of the reaction mechanism are that ATP binding to RFC initiates slow activation of the clamp loader, enabling it to open PCNA (at ~2 s(-1)) and bind primer-template DNA (ptDNA). Rapid binding of ptDNA leads to formation of the RFC·ATP·PCNA(open)·ptDNA complex, which catalyzes a burst of ATP hydrolysis. Another slow step in the reaction follows ATP hydrolysis and is associated with PCNA closure around ptDNA (8 s(-1)). Dissociation of PCNA·ptDNA from RFC leads to catalytic turnover. We propose that these early and late rate-determining events are intramolecular conformational changes in RFC and PCNA that control clamp opening and closure, and that ATP binding and hydrolysis switch RFC between conformations with high and low affinities, respectively, for open PCNA and ptDNA, and thus bookend the clamp loading reaction. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citation

Miho Sakato, Yayan Zhou, Manju M Hingorani. ATP binding and hydrolysis-driven rate-determining events in the RFC-catalyzed PCNA clamp loading reaction. Journal of molecular biology. 2012 Feb 17;416(2):176-91

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PMID: 22197378

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