During lagging strand synthesis, DNA Ligase 1 (Lig1) cooperates with the sliding clamp PCNA to seal the nicks between Okazaki fragments generated by Pol δ and Flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1). We present several cryo-EM structures combined with functional assays, showing that human Lig1 recruits PCNA to nicked DNA using two PCNA-interacting motifs (PIPs) located at its disordered N-terminus (PIPN-term) and DNA binding domain (PIPDBD). Once Lig1 and PCNA assemble as two-stack rings encircling DNA, PIPN-term is released from PCNA and only PIPDBD is required for ligation to facilitate the substrate handoff from FEN1. Consistently, we observed that PCNA forms a defined complex with FEN1 and nicked DNA, and it recruits Lig1 to an unoccupied monomer creating a toolbelt that drives the transfer of DNA to Lig1. Collectively, our results provide a structural model on how PCNA regulates FEN1 and Lig1 during Okazaki fragments maturation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)