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Eur J Biochem. 1976 Jun 1;65(2):431-40.

Enzymic unwinding of DNA. 1. Purification and characterization of a DNA-dependent ATPase from Escherichia coli.


Evidence from various sources in the literature suggests that, in connection with DNA, ATP dephosphorylation can be used to provide energy for mechanical effects. Starting from this concept we have studied a novel DNA-dependent ATPase purified to 90% homogeneity from Escherichia coli. The enzyme has a peptide weight near 180 000 and, in high salt, is a monomeric, probably highly anisometric molecule. In salt-free buffer, where the ATPase activity is highest, the enzyme forms aggregates. ATP is the preferred substrate (Km 0.27 mM) and dephosphorylated at the gamma-position at a maximal rate near 10(4) molecules per enzyme monomer per min at 35 degrees C. A requirement for divalent cation is best satisfied by Mg2+ or Ca2+ and the requirement for DNA best by the single-stranded, circular DNA of phages phiX174 (Km 62 nM nucleotide) and fd indicating that the enzyme recognizes internal DNA regions. When saturated with E. coli DNA unwinding protein phiX DNA is not accepted but, once in contact with the DNA, the enzyme is little inhibited by unwinding protein. Apparently the unwinding protein interferes preferentially with the recognition of DNA. The enzyme does not detectably cleave DNA, and for this and genetic reasons is not identical with the recBC ATPase or the K12 restriction ATPase of the extracted cells. The enzyme is probably not identical either with the dnaB-product-associated ATPase or the ATPase activity found in DNA polymerase III holoenzyme under appropriate conditions, and it is certainly not identical with a DNA-dependent ATPase of molecular weight 69 000 from E. coli which has recently been purified. Attempts to ascribe the enzyme to other genes, including recA, lex and rep, have failed.

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