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Nucleic Acids Res. 1997 Aug 1; 25(15): 2973–2978.
PMCID: PMC146849

DNA helicase activity in Werner's syndrome gene product synthesized in a baculovirus system.


The gene responsible for Werner's syndrome (WRN) contains a region homologous to the Escherichia coli RecQ type DNA helicase and was thought to code for a DNA helicase belonging to this helicase family. However, no evidence has been shown before to substantiate this prediction. Here, we show data that the product of the WRN gene is indeed a DNA helicase. The gene product, a polypeptide with a relative molecular mass of 170 kDa, expressed in the insect Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf21) cell and purified by affinity column chromatography contained both the ATPase and DNA unwinding activities characteristic of DNA helicase. Expressions in Sf21, as well as in HeLa cells, showed that the WRN DNA helicase is exclusively transported to the nucleoplasm, which is consistent with its function in DNA metabolism. Our studies on strand displacement suggest that WRN helicase can unwind not only a duplex DNA, but also an RNA-DNA heteroduplex, while the latter reaction seems less efficient. Enzymological features learned from the purified WRN helicase are discussed with respect to the biological function, which remains to be clarified.

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Selected References

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