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Nat Chem Biol. 2007 Dec;3(12):763-8. Epub 2007 Oct 28.

Dissecting metal ion-dependent folding and catalysis of a single DNAzyme.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 600 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Protein metalloenzymes use various modes for functions for which metal-dependent global conformational change is required in some cases but not in others. In contrast, most ribozymes require a global folding that almost always precedes enzyme reactions. Herein we studied metal-dependent folding and cleavage activity of the 8-17 DNAzyme using single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Addition of Zn2+ and Mg2+ induced folding of the DNAzyme into a more compact structure followed by a cleavage reaction, which suggests that the DNAzyme may require metal-dependent global folding for activation. In the presence of Pb2+, however, the cleavage reaction occurred without a precedent folding step, which suggests that the DNAzyme may be prearranged to accept Pb2+ for the activity. Neither ligation reaction of the cleaved substrates nor dynamic changes between folded and unfolded states was observed. These features may contribute to the unusually fast Pb2+-dependent reaction of the DNAzyme. These results suggest that DNAzymes can use all modes of activation that metalloproteins use.

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