RAG-1 mutations associated with B-Cell-negative SCID dissociate the nicking and transesterification steps of V(D)J recombination

Wenhui Li, Fu Chung Chang, Stephen Desiderio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Some patients with B-cell negative severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) carry mutations in RAG-1 or RAG-2 that impair V(D)J recombination. Two recessive RAG-1 mutations responsible for B-cell-negative SCID, R621H and E719K, impair V(D)J recombination without affecting formation of single-site recombination signal sequence complexes, specific DNA contacts, or perturbation of DNA structure at the heptamercoding junction. The E719K mutation impairs DNA cleavage by the RAG complex, with a greater effect on nicking than on transesterification; a conservative glutamine substitution exhibits a similar effect. When cysteine is substituted for E719, RAG-1 activity is enhanced in Mn2+ but remains impaired in Mg2+, suggesting an interaction between this residue and an essential metal ion. The R621H mutation partially impairs nicking, with little effect on transesterification. The residual nicking activity of the R621H mutant is reduced at least 10-fold upon a change from pH 7.0 to pH 8.4. Site-specific nicking is severely impaired by an alanine substitution at R621 but is spared by substitution with lysine. These observations are consistent with involvement of a positively charged residue at position 621 in the nicking step of the RAG-mediated cleavage reaction. Our data provide a mechanistic explanation for one form of hereditary SCID. Moreover, while RAG-1 is directly involved in catalysis of both nicking and transesterification, our observations indicate that these two steps have distinct catalytic requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3935-3946
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume21
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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