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Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(15):5223-31. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Local selection rules that can determine specific pathways of DNA unknotting by type II DNA topoisomerases.

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Laboratoire d'Analyse Ultrastructurale, Faculté de Biologie et de Médecine, Université de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne-Dorigny, Switzerland.


We performed numerical simulations of DNA chains to understand how local geometry of juxtaposed segments in knotted DNA molecules can guide type II DNA topoisomerases to perform very efficient relaxation of DNA knots. We investigated how the various parameters defining the geometry of inter-segmental juxtapositions at sites of inter-segmental passage reactions mediated by type II DNA topoisomerases can affect the topological consequences of these reactions. We confirmed the hypothesis that by recognizing specific geometry of juxtaposed DNA segments in knotted DNA molecules, type II DNA topoisomerases can maintain the steady-state knotting level below the topological equilibrium. In addition, we revealed that a preference for a particular geometry of juxtaposed segments as sites of strand-passage reaction enables type II DNA topoisomerases to select the most efficient pathway of relaxation of complex DNA knots. The analysis of the best selection criteria for efficient relaxation of complex knots revealed that local structures in random configurations of a given knot type statistically behave as analogous local structures in ideal geometric configurations of the corresponding knot type.

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