Publication Details

Shishmarev, D., Wang, Y., Mason, C. E., Su, X., Oakley, A. J., Graham, B., Huber, T., Dixon, N. E. & Otting, G. (2014). Intramolecular binding mode of the C-terminus of Escherichia coli single-stranded DNA binding protein determined by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Nucleic Acids Research, 42 (4), 2750-2757.


Single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein (SSB) is an essential protein to protect ssDNA and recruit specific ssDNA-processing proteins. Escherichia coli SSB forms a tetramer at neutral pH, comprising a structurally well-defined ssDNA binding domain (OB-domain) and a disordered C-terminal domain (C-domain) of ∼64 amino acid residues. The C-terminal eight-residue segment of SSB (C-peptide) has been shown to interact with the OB-domain, but crystal structures failed to reveal any electron density of the C-peptide. Here we show that SSB forms a monomer at pH 3.4, which is suitable for studies by high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The OB-domain retains its 3D structure in the monomer, and the C-peptide is shown by nuclear Overhauser effects and lanthanide-induced pseudocontact shifts to bind to the OB-domain at a site that harbors ssDNA in the crystal structure of the SSB–ssDNA complex. 15N relaxation data demonstrate high flexibility of the polypeptide segment linking the C-peptide to the OB-domain and somewhat increased flexibility of the C-peptide compared with the OB-domain, suggesting that the C-peptide either retains high mobility in the bound state or is in a fast equilibrium with an unbound state.

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