Oligomeric properties of adeno-associated virus Rep68 reflect its multifunctionality
The adeno-associated virus (AAV) encodes four regulatory proteins called Rep. The large AAV Rep proteins Rep68 and Rep78 are essential factors required in almost every step of the viral life cycle. Structurally, they share two domains: a modified version of the AAA(+) domain that characterizes the SF3 family of helicases and an N-terminal domain that binds DNA specifically. The combination of these two domains imparts extraordinary multifunctionality to work as initiators of DNA replication and regulators of transcription, in addition to their essential role during site-specific integration. Although most members of the SF3 family form hexameric rings in vitro, the oligomeric nature of Rep68 is unclear due to its propensity to aggregate in solution. We report here a comprehensive study to determine the oligomeric character of Rep68 using a combination of methods that includes sedimentation velocity ultracentrifugation, electron microscopy, and hydrodynamic modeling. We have determined that residue Cys151 induces Rep68 to aggregate in vitro. We show that Rep68 displays a concentration-dependent dynamic oligomeric behavior characterized by the presence of two populations: one with monomers and dimers in slow equilibrium and a second one consisting of a mixture of multiple-ring structures of seven and eight members. The presence of either ATP or ADP induces formation of larger complexes formed by the stacking of multiple rings. Taken together, our results support the idea of a Rep68 molecule that exhibits the flexible oligomeric behavior needed to perform the wide range of functions occurring during the AAV life cycle.
The interdomain linker of AAV-2 Rep68 is an integral part of its oligomerization domain: role of a conserved SF3 helicase residue in oligomerization
The four Rep proteins of adeno-associated virus (AAV) orchestrate all aspects of its viral life cycle, including transcription regulation, DNA replication, virus assembly, and site-specific integration of the viral genome into the human chromosome 19. All Rep proteins share a central SF3 superfamily helicase domain. In other SF3 members this domain is sufficient to induce oligomerization. However, the helicase domain in AAV Rep proteins (i.e. Rep40/Rep52) as shown by its monomeric characteristic, is not able to mediate stable oligomerization. This observation led us to hypothesize the existence of an as yet undefined structural determinant that regulates Rep oligomerization. In this document, we described a detailed structural comparison between the helicase domains of AAV-2 Rep proteins and those of the other SF3 members. This analysis shows a major structural difference residing in the small oligomerization sub-domain (OD) of Rep helicase domain. In addition, secondary structure prediction of the linker connecting the helicase domain to the origin-binding domain (OBD) indicates the potential to form Î±-helices. We demonstrate that mutant Rep40 constructs containing different lengths of the linker are able to form dimers, and in the presence of ATP/ADP, larger oligomers. We further identified an aromatic linker residue (Y224) that is critical for oligomerization, establishing it as a conserved signature motif in SF3 helicases. Mutation of this residue critically affects oligomerization as well as completely abolishes the ability to produce infectious virus. Taken together, our data support a model where the linker residues preceding the helicase domain fold into an Î±-helix that becomes an integral part of the helicase domain and is critical for the oligomerization and function of Rep68/78 proteins through cooperative interaction with the OBD and helicase domains.