Molecular Dynamics of DNA Translocation by FtsK

TitleMolecular Dynamics of DNA Translocation by FtsK
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsJ Pajak, and G Arya
Date Published/

<jats:p>The bacterial FtsK motor harvests energy from ATP to translocate double-stranded DNA during cell division. Here, we probe the molecular mechanisms underlying coordinated DNA translocation in FtsK by performing long timescale simulations of its hexameric assembly and individual subunits. From these simulations we predict signaling pathways that connect the ATPase active site to DNA-gripping residues, which allows the motor to coordinate its translocation activity with its ATPase activity. Additionally, we utilize well-tempered metadynamics simulations to compute free-energy landscapes that elucidate the extended-to-compact transition involved in force generation. We show that nucleotide binding promotes a compact conformation of a motor subunit, whereas the apo subunit is flexible. Together, our results support a mechanism whereby each ATP-bound subunit of the motor conforms to the helical pitch of DNA, and ATP hydrolysis/product release causes a subunit to lose grip of DNA. By ordinally engaging and disengaging with DNA, the FtsK motor unidirectionally translocates DNA.</jats:p>