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Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(1):79-86. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

RecA can stimulate the relaxation activity of topoisomerase I: Molecular basis of topoisomerase-mediated genome-wide transcriptional responses in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota Medical School-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


The superhelicity of the chromosome, which is controlled by DNA topoisomerases, modulates global gene expression. Investigations of transcriptional responses to the modulation of gyrase function have identified two types of topoisomerase-mediated transcriptional responses: (i) steady-state changes elicited by a mutation in gyrase, such as the D82G mutation in GyrA, and (ii) dynamic changes elicited by the inhibition of gyrase. We hypothesize that the steady-state effects are due to the changes in biochemical properties of gyrase, whereas the dynamic effects are due to an imbalance between supercoiling and relaxation activities, which appears to be influenced by the RecA activity. Herein, we present biochemical evidence for hypothesized mechanisms. GyrA D82G gyrase exhibits a reduced supercoiling activity. The RecA protein can influence the balance between supercoiling and relaxation activities either by interfering with the activity of DNA gyrase or by facilitating the relaxation reaction. RecA has no effect on the supercoiling activity of gyrase but stimulates the relaxation activity of topoisomerase I. This stimulation is specific and requires formation of an active RecA filament. These results suggest that the functional interaction between RecA and topoisomerase I is responsible for RecA-mediated modulation of the relaxation-dependent transcriptional activity of the Escherichia coli chromosome.

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