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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Oct 1;26(19):4395-400.

Repair of DNA strand gaps and nicks containing 3'-phosphate and 5'-hydroxyl termini by purified mammalian enzymes.

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  • 1Experimental Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, 11560 University Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 1Z2, Canada.


A putative role for mammalian polynucleotide kinases that possess both 5'-phosphotransferase and 3'-phosphatase activity is the restoration of DNA strand breaks with 5'-hydroxyl termini or 3'-phosphate termini, or both, to a form that supports the subsequent action of DNA repair polymerases and DNA ligases, i.e. 5'-phosphate and 3'-hydroxyl termini. To further assess this possibility, we compared the activity of the 3'-phosphatase of purified calf thymus polynucleotide kinase towards a variety of substrates. The rate of removal of 3'-phosphate groups from nicked or short (1 nt) gapped sites in double-stranded DNA was observed to be similar to that of 3'-phosphate groups from single-stranded substrates. Thus this activity of polynucleotide kinase does not appear to be influenced by steric accessibility of the phosphate group. We subsequently demonstrated that the concerted reactions of polynucleotide kinase and purified human DNA ligase I could efficiently repair DNA nicks possessing 3'-phosphate and 5'-hydroxyl termini, and similarly the combination of these two enzymes together with purified rat DNA polymerase beta could seal a strand break with a 1 nt gap. With a substrate containing a nick bounded by 3'- and 5'-OH termini, the rate of gap filling by polymerase beta was significantly enhanced in the presence of polynucleotide kinase and ATP, indicating the positive influence of 5'-phosphorylation. The reaction was further enhanced by addition of DNA ligase I to the reaction mixture. This is due, at least in part, to an enhancement by DNA ligase I of the rate of 5'-phosphorylation catalyzed by polynucleotide kinase.

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