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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jul 14;281(28):18927-32. Epub 2006 May 9.

Alteration of Escherichia coli topoisomerase IV conformation upon enzyme binding to positively supercoiled DNA.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3204, USA. crisona@calmail.berkeley.edu


Escherichia coli topoisomerase IV (topo IV) is an essential enzyme that unlinks the daughter chromosomes for proper segregation at cell division. In vitro, topo IV readily distinguishes between the two possible chiralities of crossing segments in a DNA substrate. The enzyme relaxes positive supercoils and left-handed braids 20 times faster, and with greater processivity, than negative supercoils and right-handed braids. Here, we used chemical cross-linking of topo IV to demonstrate that enzyme bound to positively supercoiled DNA is in a different conformation from that bound to other forms of DNA. Using three different reagents, we observed novel cross-linked species of topo IV when positively supercoiled DNA was in the reaction. We show that the ParE subunits are in close enough proximity to be cross-linked only when the enzyme is bound to positively supercoiled DNA. We suggest that the altered conformation reflects efficient binding by topo IV of the two DNA segments that participate in the strand passage reaction.

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