Functional amyloids as inhibitors of plasmid DNA replication
Molina-García L, Gasset-Rosa F, Moreno-Del Álamo M, Fernández-Tresguerres ME, Moreno-Díaz de la Espina S, Lurz R, Giraldo R.
Sci Rep 2016 May; 6: 25425.
NA replication is tightly regulated to constrain the genetic material within strict spatiotemporal boundaries and copy numbers. Bacterial plasmids are autonomously replicating DNA molecules of much clinical, environmental and biotechnological interest. A mechanism used by plasmids to prevent over-replication is ‘handcuffing’, i.e. inactivating the replication origins in two DNA molecules by holding them together through a bridge built by a plasmid-encoded initiator protein (Rep). Besides being involved in handcuffing, the WH1 domain in the RepA protein assembles as amyloid fibres upon binding to DNA in vitro. The amyloid state in proteins is linked to specific human diseases, but determines selectable and epigenetically transmissible phenotypes in microorganisms. Here we have explored the connection between handcuffing and amyloidogenesis of full-length RepA. Using a monoclonal antibody specific for an amyloidogenic conformation of RepA-WH1, we have found that the handcuffed RepA assemblies, either reconstructed in vitro or in plasmids clustering at the bacterial nucleoid, are amyloidogenic. The replication-inhibitory RepA handcuff assembly is, to our knowledge, the first protein amyloid directly dealing with DNA. Built on an amyloid scaffold, bacterial plasmid handcuffs can bring a novel molecular solution to the universal problem of keeping control on DNA replication initiation.
PubMed: 27147472. Doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw264.