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We report here a distinct mechanism of interaction between topoisomerase I and RNA polymerase in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis that has evolved independently from the previously characterized interaction between bacterial topoisomerase I and RNA polymerase. Bacterial DNA topoisomerase I is responsible for preventing the hyper-negative supercoiling of genomic DNA. The association of topoisomerase I with RNA polymerase during transcription elongation could efficiently relieve transcription-driven negative supercoiling. Our results demonstrate a direct physical interaction between the C-terminal domains of topoisomerase I (TopoI-CTDs) and the β' subunit of RNA polymerase of M. smegmatis in the absence of DNA. The TopoI-CTDs in mycobacteria are evolutionarily unrelated in amino acid sequence and three-dimensional structure to the TopoI-CTD found in the majority of bacterial species outside Actinobacteria, including Escherichia coli. The functional interaction between topoisomerase I and RNA polymerase has evolved independently in mycobacteria and E. coli, with distinctively different structural elements of TopoI-CTD utilized for this protein-protein interaction. Zinc ribbon motifs in E. coli TopoI-CTD are involved in the interaction with RNA polymerase. For M. smegmatis TopoI-CTD, a 27-amino-acid tail that is rich in basic residues at the C-terminal end is responsible for the interaction with RNA polymerase. Overexpression of recombinant TopoI-CTD in M. smegmatis competed with the endogenous topoisomerase I for protein-protein interactions with RNA polymerase. The TopoI-CTD overexpression resulted in decreased survival following treatment with antibiotics and hydrogen peroxide, supporting the importance of the protein-protein interaction between topoisomerase I and RNA polymerase during stress response of mycobacteria.
Banda S, Cao N, Tse-Dinh YC. Distinct Mechanism Evolved for Mycobacterial RNA Polymerase and Topoisomerase I Protein-Protein Interaction. J Mol Biol. 2017 Sep 15;429(19):2931-2942. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2017.08.011. Epub 2017 Aug 24. PMID: 28843989; PMCID: PMC5610943.
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