Kinetics of the nucleotide binding to the strong (S) and weak (W) nucleotide-binding site of the Escherichia coli PriA helicase have been studied using the fluorescence stopped-flow technique. Experiments were performed with TNP-ADP and TNP-ATP analogues. Binding of the ADP analogue to the strong binding site is a four-step sequential reaction: (PriA)s + D ↔ k-1 k1 +(S)1 ↔ k-2k2 (S) 2 ↔ k-3k3 (S)3 ↔ k-4k4 (S)4. Association of TNP-ATP proceeds through an analogous three-step mechanism. The first two steps and intermediates are similar for both cofactors. However, the (S)3 intermediate is dramatically different for ADP and ATP analogues. Its emission is close to the emission of the free TNP-ADP, while it is by a factor of ∼16 larger than the free TNP-ATP fluorescence. Thus, only the ADP analogue passes through an intermediate where it leaves the hydrophobic cleft of the site. This behavior corroborates with the fact that ADP leaves the ATPase site without undergoing a chemical change. The fast bimolecular step and the sequential mechanism indicate that the site is easily accessible to the cofactor, and it does not undergo an adjustment prior to binding. The subsequent step is also fast and stabilizes the complex. Magnesium profoundly affects the population of intermediates. The data indicate that the dominant (S)2 species is a part of the ATP catalytic cycle. ADP analogue binding to the weak nucleotide-binding site proceeds in a simpler two-step mechanism: (PriA)W + D ↔ k-1k1 (W)1 ↔ k-2k2 (W)2 with (W)1 being a dominant intermediate both in the presence and in the absence of Mg2+. The results indicate that the weak site is an allosteric control site in the functioning of the PriA helicase.
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