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J Biol Chem. 1985 Jun 25;260(12):7591-8.

Purification and properties of the dnaJ replication protein of Escherichia coli.


The Escherichia coli dnaJ gene was originally discovered because mutations in it blocked bacteriophage lambda DNA replication. Some of these mutations were subsequently shown to interfere with bacterial growth at high temperature, suggesting that dnaJ is an essential protein for the host as well. The first step in purifying the dnaJ protein was to overproduce it at least 50-fold by subcloning its gene into the pMOB45 runaway plasmid. The second step was the development of an in vitro system to assay for its activity. A Fraction II extract from dnaJ259 mutant bacteria was shown to be unable to replicate lambda dv DNA unless supplemented with an exogenous source of wild-type dnaJ protein. Using this complementation assay we purified the dnaJ protein to homogeneity from the membrane fraction of an overproducing strain of bacteria. The purified dnaJ protein was shown to be a basic (pI 8.5), yet hydrophobic, protein of Mr 37,000 and 76,000 under denaturing and native conditions, respectively, and to exhibit affinity for both single- and double-stranded DNA. Using a partially purified lambda dv replication system dependent on the presence of the lambda O and P initiator proteins and at least the host dnaB, dnaG, dnaJ, dnaK, single-stranded DNA-binding protein, gyrase, RNA polymerase holoenzyme, and DNA polymerase III holoenzyme, we have shown that the dnaJ protein is required at a very early step in the DNA replication process.

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