Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Physiology and Biophysics

First Advisor

Dr. Carlos Escalante

Second Advisor

Dr. Diomedes Logothetis

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Landry

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Monseratt Samso

Fifth Advisor

Dr. William Barton


Adeno-associated Virus (AAV) Rep proteins are multifunctional proteins that carry out various DNA transactions required for the life cycle of AAV. The Rep proteins have been found to be important for genome replication, gene regulation, site-specific integration and play an essential role in genome packaging. There are two main groups of Rep proteins: large and small Reps; both groups are SF3 helicase family members. During DNA packaging, studies have shown that the small Rep proteins are critical to produce fully packed particles. Using stopped-flow kinetic analysis, we show a significant difference in helicase activity between the small and large Rep proteins that support the notion that the small Rep proteins are the primary motor to package DNA due to more efficient motor activity. That leaves the large Rep proteins to serve a different role during packaging. In previous studies, we have shown that the large Rep proteins have the ability to change their oligomeric state depending on the nature of the DNA substrate. We can observe double octameric rings with single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and heptameric complex with double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). To understand Rep protein structural plasticity, we solved a 6.96 Å cryo-EM structure of Rep68*/ssDNA complex illustrating that the formation of Rep octamer rings is dominated by interactions between their N-terminal origin-binding domain (OBD) using the same interface utilized to recognize dsDNA specifically. Our analysis of the structural data suggests that the double octameric ring structure is stabilized by ssDNA that bridges octameric rings together. The structure shows that the helicase domains are highly flexible and that ssDNA is present at the center of the ring. In addition, we have solved a preliminary 12 Å model of Rep68*/dsDNA complex showing a heptameric ring encircling a DNA molecule. Our structural and functional data offer insights to the various Rep-DNA scaffolds that can perform diverse functions during the AAV life cycle.


© Vishaka Santosh

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission