Rhp51, a RecA and Rad51 homologue of Schizosaccharomyces pombe, plays a pivotal role in homologous recombination and recombinational repair. It has a set of the well-conserved type A and type B ATP-binding motifs, which are highly conserved in all RecA homologues. In a previous study [Kim, Lee, Park, Park and Park (2001) Nucleic Acids Res. 29, 1724–1732], we reported that a single mutation of the conserved lysine in A motif [Lys155→Ala (K155A)] destroyed the DNA repair ability of Rhp51 and that overexpression of this mutant protein conferred dominant negativity. In the present paper, we investigated DNA-binding properties of recombinant Rhp51 and its mutant proteins. Purified Rhp51 protein showed ATP-dependent double- and single-strand DNA-binding activities. To characterize the role of ATP-binding motifs, we generated Rhp51 K155A and Rhp51 Asp244→Gln (D244Q), which have a single amino acid substitution in A and B motifs respectively. Interestingly, K155A and D244Q mutations impaired ATP-dependent DNA binding in a different manner. K155A lost the DNA binding itself, whereas D244Q maintained the binding ability but lost the ATP dependency. However, despite the difference in DNA-binding ability, both mutations failed to rescue the methylmethane sulphonate and UV sensitivity of the rhp51Δ mutant. Together, these results suggested that not only the DNA binding but also the ATP dependence in DNA binding is required for proper in vivo functioning of Rhp51.

Abbreviations used: D244Q, Asp244→Gln; ds, double-stranded; K155A, Lys155→Ala; MMS, methylmethane sulphonate; ss, single-stranded.

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Author notes

1

Present address: Molecular Biology Program, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, U.S.A.