Phosphorylation of simian virus 40 large tumor (T) antigen on threonine 124 is essential for viral DNA replication. A mutant T antigen (T124A), in which this threonine was replaced by alanine, has helicase activity, assembles double hexamers on viral-origin DNA, and locally distorts the origin DNA structure, but it cannot catalyze origin DNA unwinding. A class of T-antigen mutants with single-amino-acid substitutions in the DNA binding domain (class 4) has remarkably similar properties, although these proteins are phosphorylated on threonine 124, as we show here. By comparing the DNA binding properties of the T124A and class 4 mutant proteins with those of the wild type, we demonstrate that mutant double hexamers bind to vital origin DNA with reduced cooperativity. We report that T124A T-antigen subunits impair the ability of double hexamers containing the wild-type protein to unwind viral origin DNA, suggesting that interactions between hexamers are also required for unwinding. Moreover, the T124A and class 4 mutant T antigens display dominant-negative inhibition of the viral DNA replication activity of the wild-type protein. We propose that interactions between hexamers, mediated through the DNA binding domain and the N-terminal phosphorylated region of T antigen, play a role in double-hexamer assembly and origin DNA unwinding. We speculate that one surface of the DNA binding domain in each subunit of one hexamer may form a docking site that can interact with each subunit in the other hexamer, either directly with the N- terminal phosphorylated region or with another region that is regulated by phosphorylation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science