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Unwinding of heterologous DNA by RecA protein during the search for homologous sequences

Rould, Elizabeth and Muniyappa, K and Radding, Charles M (1992) Unwinding of heterologous DNA by RecA protein during the search for homologous sequences. In: Journal of Molecular Biology, 226 (1). pp. 127-139.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-2836(92)90129-8


The search for homologous sequences promoted by RecA protein in vitro involves a presynaptic filament and naked duplex DNA, the multiple contacts of which produce nucleoprotein networks or coaggregates. The single-stranded DNA within the presynaptic filaments, however, is extended to an axial spacing 1.5 times that of B-form DNA. To investigate this paradoxical difference between the spacing of bases in the RecA presynaptic filament versus the target duplex DNA, we explored the effect of heterologous contacts on the conformation of DNA, and vice versa. In the presence of wheat germ topoisomerase I, RecA presynaptic filaments induced a rapid, limited reduction in the linking number of heterologous circular duplex DNA. This limited unwinding of heterologous duplex DNA, termed heterologous unwinding, was detected within 30 seconds and reached a steady state within a few minutes. Presynaptic filaments that were formed in the presence of ATP?S and separated from free RecA protein by gel filtration also generated a ladder of topoisomers upon incubation with relaxed duplex DNA and topoisomerase. The inhibition of heterologous contacts by 60 mImage -NaCl or 5 mImage -ADP resulted in a corresponding decrease in heterologous unwinding. In reciprocal fashion, the stability or number of heterologous contacts with presynaptic filaments was inversely related to the linking number of circular duplex DNA. These observations show that heterologous contacts with the presynaptic filament cause a limited unwinding of the duplex DNA, and conversely that the ability of the DNA to unwind stabilizes transient heterologous contacts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Molecular Biology
Publisher: Elsevier science
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier science.
Keywords: RecA protein;genetic recombination;recombination;DNA unwinding;homologous search.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
Date Deposited: 30 May 2011 05:04
Last Modified: 30 May 2011 05:04
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/37984

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