# Stabilizing interactions in the dimer interface of \alpha-subunit in Escherichia coli RNA polymerase: A graph spectral and point mutation study

Kannan, Natarajan and Chander, Preethi and Ghosh, Pallavi and Vishveshwara, Saraswathi and Chatterji, Dipankar (2001) Stabilizing interactions in the dimer interface of \alpha-subunit in Escherichia coli RNA polymerase: A graph spectral and point mutation study. In: Protein Science, 10 (1). pp. 46-54.

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## Abstract

The formation of $\alpha_2$ dimer in Escherichia coli core RNA polymerase (RNAP) is thought to be the first step toward the assembly of the functional enzyme. A large number of evidences indicate that the \alpha-subunit dimerizes through its N-terminal domain (NTD). The crystal structures of the \alpha-subunit NTD and that of a homologous Thermus aquaticus core RNAP are known. To identify the stabilizing interactions in the dimer interface of the \alpha-NTD of E. coli RNAP, we identified side-chain clusters by using the crystal structure coordinates of E. coli \alpha-NTD. A graph spectral algorithm was used to identify side-chain clusters. This algorithm considers the global nonbonded side-chain interactions of the residues for the clustering procedure and is unique in identifying residues that make the largest number of interactions among the residues that form clusters in a very quantitative way. By using this algorithm, a nine-residue cluster consisting of polar and hydrophobic residues was identified in the subunit interface adjacent to the hydrophobic core. The residues forming the cluster are relatively rigid regions of the interface, as measured by the thermal factors of the residues. Most of the cluster residues in the E. coli enzyme were topologically and sequentially conserved in the T. aquaticus RNAP crystal structure. Residues 35F and 46I were predicted to be important in the stability of the -\alpha dimer interface, with 35F forming the center of the cluster. The predictions were tested by isolating single-point mutants \alpha-F35A and \alpha-I46S on the dimer interface, which were found to disrupt dimerization. Thus, the identified cluster at the edge of the dimer interface seems to be a vital component in stabilizing the \alpha-NTD.

Item Type: Journal Article Copyright of this article belongs to The Protein Society. RNA polymerase;-subunit;N-terminal domain;Graph spectral algorithm;Point mutation;Assembly Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Biophysics Unit 17 Oct 2007 19 Sep 2010 04:40 http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/12256