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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.






Pubmed Accepted Manuscript

Published in final edited form as: J Mol Biol. 2017 September 15; 429(19): 2931–2942. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2017.08.011.



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