Detailed studies of the kinetics and mechanism of nucleotide incorporation catalyzed by the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase from poliovirus, 3D(pol), have been limited by the inability to assemble elongation complexes that permit activity to be monitored by extension of end-labeled primers. We have solved this problem by employing a short, symmetrical, heteropolymeric RNA primer-template that we refer to as 'sym/sub'. Formation of 3D(pol)- sym/sub complexes is slow owing to a slow rate of association (0.1 μM-1 s-1) of 3D(pol) and sym/sub and a slow isomerization (0.076 s-1) of the 3D(pol)-sym/sub complex that is a prerequisite for catalytic competence of this complex. Complex assembly is stoichiometric under conditions in which competing reactions, such as enzyme inactivation, are eliminated. Inactivation of 3D(pol) occurs at a maximal rate of 0.051 s-1 at 22 °C in reaction buffer lacking nucleotide. At this temperature, ATP protects 3D(pol) against inactivation with a K0.5 of 37 μM. Once formed, 3D(pol)-sym/sub elongation complexes are stable (t( 1/2 ) = 2 h at 22 °C) and appear to contain only a single polymerase monomer. In the presence of Mg2+, AMP, 2'-dAMP, and 3'-dAMP are incorporated into sym/sub by 3D(pol) at rates of 72, 0.6, and 1 s-1, respectively. After incorporation of AMP, 3D(pol)-sym/sub product complexes have a half-life of 8 h at 22 °C. The stability of 3D(pol)-sym/sub complexes is temperature-dependent. At 30 °C, there is a 2-8-fold decrease in complex stability. Complex dissociation is the rate-limiting step for primer utilization. 3D(pol) dissociates from the end of template at a rate 10-fold faster than from internal positions. The sym/sub system will facilitate mechanistic analysis of 3D(pol) and permit a direct kinetic and thermodynamic comparison of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase to the other classes of nucleic acid polymerases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology