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Structure of the hexameric HerA ATPase reveals a mechanism of translocation-coupled DNA-end processing in archaea

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/11/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature Communications
Pages (from-to)5506
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The HerA ATPase cooperates with the NurA nuclease and the Mre11-Rad50 complex for the repair of double-strand DNA breaks in thermophilic archaea. Here we extend our structural knowledge of this minimal end-resection apparatus by presenting the first crystal structure of hexameric HerA. The full-length structure visualizes at atomic resolution the N-terminal HerA-ATP synthase domain and a conserved C-terminal extension, which acts as a physical brace between adjacent protomers. The brace also interacts in trans with nucleotide-binding residues of the neighbouring subunit. Our observations support a model in which the coaxial interaction of the HerA ring with the toroidal NurA dimer generates a continuous channel traversing the complex. HerA-driven translocation would propel the DNA towards the narrow annulus of NurA, leading to duplex melting and nucleolytic digestion. This system differs substantially from the bacterial end-resection paradigms. Our findings suggest a novel mode of DNA-end processing by this integrated archaeal helicase-nuclease machine.