Ordered assembly of nucleoprotein structures at the bacteriophage lambda replication origin during the initiation of DNA replication.

C. Alfano, R. McMacken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Replication of the chromosome of bacteriophage lambda depends on the cooperative action of two phage-coded proteins and seven replication and heat shock proteins from its Escherichia coli host. As previously described, the first stage in this process is the binding of multiple copies of the lambda O initiator to the lambda replication origin (ori lambda) to form the nucleosomelike O-some. The O-some serves to localize subsequent protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions involved in the initiation of lambda DNA replication to ori lambda. To study these interactions, we have developed a sensitive immunoblotting protocol that permits the protein constituents of complex nucleoprotein structures to be identified. Using this approach, we have defined a series of sequential protein assembly and protein disassembly events that occur at ori lambda during the initiation of lambda DNA replication. A second-stage ori lambda.O (lambda O protein).P (lambda P protein).DnaB nucleoprotein structure is formed when O, P, and E. coli DnaB helicase are incubated with ori lambda DNA. In a third-stage reaction the E. coli DnaJ heat shock protein specifically binds to the second-stage structure to form an ori lambda.O.P.DnaB.DnaJ complex. Each of the nucleoprotein structures formed in the first three stages was isolated and shown to be a physiological intermediate in the initiation of lambda DNA replication. The E. coli DnaK heat shock protein can bind to any of these early stage nucleoprotein structures, and in a fourth-stage reaction a complete ori lambda.O.P.DnaB.DnaJ.DnaK initiation complex is assembled. Addition of ATP to the reaction enables the DnaK and DnaJ heat shock proteins to mediate a partial disassembly of the fourth-stage complex. These protein disassembly reactions activate the intrinsic helicase activity of DnaB and result in localized unwinding of the ori lambda template. The protein disassembly reactions are described in the accompanying articles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10699-10708
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - Jun 25 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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