SSB Facilitates Fork-Substrate Discrimination by the PriA DNA Helicase

Hui Yin Tan, Piero R. Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Primosomal protein A (PriA) is a member of helicase SuperFamily 2. Its role in vivo is to reload the primosome onto resurrected replication forks resulting in the restart of the previously stalled DNA replication process. Single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSB) plays a key role in mediating activities at replication forks and interacts both physically and functionally with PriA. To gain a mechanistic insight into the PriA-SSB interaction, a coupled spectrophotometric assay was utilized to characterize the ATPase activity of PriA in vitro in the presence of fork substrates. The results demonstrate that SSB enhances the ability of PriA to discriminate between fork substrates as much as 140-fold. This is due to a significant increase in the catalytic efficiency of the helicase induced by SSB. This interaction is species-specific as bacteriophage gene 32 protein cannot substitute for the Escherichia coli protein. SSB, while enhancing the activity of PriA on its preferred fork decreases both the affinity of the helicase for other forks and the catalytic efficiency. Central to the stimulation afforded by SSB is the unique ability of PriA to bind with high affinity to the 3′-OH placed at the end of the nascent leading strand at the fork. When both the 3′-OH and SSB are present, the maximum effect on the ATPase activity of the helicase is observed. This ensures that PriA will load onto the correct fork, in the right orientation, thereby ensuring that replication restart is directed to only the template lagging strand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Omega
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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