Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33893297
Link to HAL – Click here
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-021-22626-x
Nat Commun 2021 04; 12(1): 2420
Bacteriophages have long been known to use modified bases in their DNA to prevent cleavage by the host’s restriction endonucleases. Among them, cyanophage S-2L is unique because its genome has all its adenines (A) systematically replaced by 2-aminoadenines (Z). Here, we identify a member of the PrimPol family as the sole possible polymerase of S-2L and we find it can incorporate both A and Z in front of a T. Its crystal structure at 1.5 Å resolution confirms that there is no structural element in the active site that could lead to the rejection of A in front of T. To resolve this contradiction, we show that a nearby gene is a triphosphohydolase specific of dATP (DatZ), that leaves intact all other dNTPs, including dZTP. This explains the absence of A in S-2L genome. Crystal structures of DatZ with various ligands, including one at sub-angstrom resolution, allow to describe its mechanism as a typical two-metal-ion mechanism and to set the stage for its engineering.