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You are here: Home / Teams / Posttranscriptional Regulation in Infection and Oncogenesis - Jalinot/Mocquet / Publications / A helical bundle in the N-terminal domain of the BLM helicase mediates dimer and potentially hexamer formation.

A helical bundle in the N-terminal domain of the BLM helicase mediates dimer and potentially hexamer formation.

Jing Shi, Wei-Fei Chen, Bo Zhang, San-Hong Fan, Xia Ai, Na-Nv Liu, Stephane Rety, and Xu-Guang Xi (2017)

J Biol Chem, 292(14):5909-5920.

Helicases play a critical role in processes such as replication or recombinationby unwinding double-stranded DNA; mutations of these genes can therefore have devastating biological consequences. In humans, mutations in genes of three members of the RecQ family helicases (blm, wrn, and recq4) give rise to three strikingly distinctive clinical phenotypes: Bloom syndrome, Werner syndrome, andRothmund-Thomson syndrome, respectively. However, the molecular basis for these varying phenotypic outcomes is unclear, in part because a full mechanistic description of helicase activity is lacking. Because the helicase core domains are highly conserved, it has been postulated that functional differences among family members might be explained by significant differences in the N-terminal domains, but these domains are poorly characterized. To help fill this gap, we now describe bioinformatics, biochemical, and structural data for three vertebrate BLM proteins. We pair high resolution crystal structures with SAXS analysis to describe an internal, highly conserved sequence we term the dimerization helical bundle in N-terminal domain (DHBN). We show that, despite the N-terminal domain being loosely structured and potentially lacking a definedthree-dimensional structure in general, the DHBN exists as a dimeric structure required for higher order oligomer assembly. Interestingly, the unwinding amplitude and rate decrease as BLM is assembled from dimer into hexamer, and also, the stable DHBN dimer can be dissociated upon ATP hydrolysis. Thus, the structural and biochemical characterizations of N-terminal domains will provide new insights into how the N-terminal domain affects the structural and functional organization of the full BLM molecule.

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