Sequence-related structural DNA anomalies affect restriction enzyme activity and DNA polymerase I binding

Hellen Thomson, Florida International University


DNA serves as a target molecule for several types of enzymes and may assume a wide variety of structural motifs depending upon the local sequence. The BssHII restriction site (GC)3 resides in a 9bp region of alternating pyrimidine and purine residues within the &phis;X174 genome. Such sequences are known to demonstrate non-canonical helical behavior under the appropriate conditions. The kinetics of BssHII cleavage was investigated in supercoiled and linear plasmid DNA, and in a 323bp DNA fragment obtained via amplification of &phis;X174. The rate of enzyme cleavage was enhanced in the supercoiled form and in the presence of 50μM cobalt hexamine. Similarly, cobalt hexamine was also found to enhance TaqI activity directly adjacent to the (GC)3 region. Initial DNA polymerase I binding studies (including a gel mobility shift assay and a protection assay) indicated a notable interaction between DNA polymerase I and the BssHII site. An in-depth study revealed that equilibrium binding of DNA polymerase I to the T7 RNA polymerase promoter was comparable to that of the (GC)3 site, however the strongest interaction was observed with a cruciform containing region. Increasing the ionic strength of the solution environment, including the addition of DNA polymerase I reaction buffer significantly decreased the equilibrium dissociation constant values. It is suggested that the region within or around the BssHII site experiences a conformational change generating a novel structure under the influence of supercoiled tension or 50μM cobalt hexamine. It is proposed that this transition may enhance enzyme activity and binding by providing an initial enzyme-docking site—the rate-limiting step in restriction enzyme kinetics. The high binding potential of DNA polymerase I for each of the motifs described, is hypothesized to be due to recognition of the structural DNA anomalies by the 3′–5′ exonuclease domain.

Subject Area

Biochemistry|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Thomson, Hellen, "Sequence-related structural DNA anomalies affect restriction enzyme activity and DNA polymerase I binding" (2001). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI1407032.