Different Divalent Cations Alter the Kinetics and Fidelity of DNA Polymerases [DNA and Chromosomes]

August 8th, 2016 by Vashishtha, A. K., Wang, J., Konigsberg, W. H.

Divalent metal ions are essential components of DNA polymerases both for catalysis of the nucleotidyl transfer reaction and for base excision. They occupy two sites, A and B for DNA synthesis. Recently, a third metal ion was shown to be essential for phosphoryl transfer reaction. The metal ion in the A site is coordinated by the carboxylate of two highly conserved acidic residues, water molecules, and the 3' hydroxyl group of the primer so that the A metal is in an octahedral complex. Its catalytic function is to lower the pKa of the hydroxyl group making it a highly effective nucleophile that can attack the alpha phosphorous atom of the incoming dNTP. The metal ion in the B site is coordinated by the same two carboxylates that are affixed to the A metal ion as well as the non-bridging oxygen atoms of the incoming dNTP. The carboxyl oxygen of an adjacent peptide bond serves as the sixth ligand that completes the octahedral coordination geometry of the B metal ion. Similarly two metal ions are required for proof-reading, one helps to lower the pKa of the attacking water molecule and the other helps to stabilize the transition state for nucleotide excision. The role of different divalent cations are discussed in relation to these two activities as well as their influence on base selectivity and misincorporation by DNA polymerases. Some, but not all of the effects of these different metal ions can be rationalized based on their intrinsic properties which are tabulated in this review.