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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Novel properties of the Thermus thermophilus RuvB protein, which promotes branch migration of Holliday junctions.

Branch migration of Holliday junctions, which are central DNA intermediates in homologous recombination, is promoted by the RuvA-RuvB protein complex, and the junctions are resolved by the action of the RuvC protein in Escherichia coli. We report here the cloning of the ruvB gene from a thermophilic eubacterium, Thermus thermophilus HB8 (Tth), and the biochemical characterization of the gene product expressed in E. coli. The Tth ruvB gene could not complement the UV sensitivity of an E. coli ruvB deletion mutant and made the wild-type strain more sensitive to UV. In contrast to E. coli RuvB, whose ATPase activity is strongly enhanced by supercoiled DNA but only weakly enhanced by linear duplex DNA, the ATPase activity of Tth RuvB was efficiently and equally enhanced by supercoiled and linear duplex DNA. Tth RuvB hydrolyzed a broader range of nucleoside triphosphates than E. coli RuvB. In addition, Tth RuvB, in the absence of RuvA protein, promoted branch migration of a synthetic Holliday junction at 60 degrees C in an ATP-dependent manner. The protein, as judged by its ATPase activity, required ATP for thermostability. Since a RuvA protein has not yet been identified in T. thermophilus, we used E. coli RuvA to examine the effects of RuvA on the activities of Tth RuvB. E. coli RuvA greatly enhanced the ability of Tth RuvB to hydrolyze ATP in the presence of DNA and to promote branch migration of a synthetic Holliday junction at 37 degrees C. These results indicate the conservation of the RuvA-RuvB interaction in different bacterial species, and suggest the existence of a ruvA homolog in T. thermophilus. Although GTP and dGTP were efficiently hydrolyzed by Tth RuvB, these nucleoside triphosphates could not be utilized for branch migration in vitro, implying that the conformational change in RuvB brought about by ATP hydrolysis, which is necessary for driving the Holliday junction branch migration, cannot be accomplished by the hydrolysis of these nucleoside triphosphates.[1]


  1. Novel properties of the Thermus thermophilus RuvB protein, which promotes branch migration of Holliday junctions. Yamada, K., Fukuoh, A., Iwasaki, H., Shinagawa, H. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1999) [Pubmed]
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