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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Mar;39(4):1351-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq975. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Interaction of Rep and DnaB on DNA.

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  • 1School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.


Genome duplication requires not only unwinding of the template but also the displacement of proteins bound to the template, a function performed by replicative helicases located at the fork. However, accessory helicases are also needed since the replicative helicase stalls occasionally at nucleoprotein complexes. In Escherichia coli, the primary and accessory helicases DnaB and Rep translocate along the lagging and leading strand templates, respectively, interact physically and also display cooperativity in the unwinding of model forked DNA substrates. We demonstrate here that this cooperativity is displayed only by Rep and not by other tested helicases. ssDNA must be exposed on the leading strand template to elicit this cooperativity, indicating that forks blocked at protein-DNA complexes contain ssDNA ahead of the leading strand polymerase. However, stable Rep-DnaB complexes can form on linear as well as branched DNA, indicating that Rep has the capacity to interact with ssDNA on either the leading or the lagging strand template at forks. Inhibition of Rep binding to the lagging strand template by competition with SSB might therefore be critical in targeting accessory helicases to the leading strand template, indicating an important role for replisome architecture in promoting accessory helicase function at blocked replisomes.

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