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J Biol Chem. 1989 Jun 25;264(18):10858-66.

How DNA travels between the separate polymerase and 3'-5'-exonuclease sites of DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment).

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


The polymerase and 3'-5'-exonuclease activities of the Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase I are located on separate structural domains of the protein, separated by about 30 A. To determine whether a DNA primer terminus can move from one active site to the other without dissociation of the enzyme-DNA complex, we carried out reactions on a labeled DNA substrate in the presence of a large excess of unlabeled DNA, to limit observations to a single enzyme-DNA encounter. The results indicated that while Klenow fragment is capable of intramolecular shuttling of a DNA substrate between the two catalytic sites, the intermolecular pathway involving enzyme-DNA dissociation can also be used. Thus, there is nothing in the protein structure or the reaction mechanism that dictates a particular means of moving the DNA substrate. Instead, the use of the intermolecular or the intramolecular pathway is determined by the competition between the polymerase or exonuclease reaction and DNA dissociation. When the substrate has a mispaired primer terminus, DNA dissociation seems generally more rapid than exonucleolytic digestion. Thus, Klenow fragment edits its own polymerase errors by a predominantly intermolecular process, involving dissociation of the enzyme-DNA complex and reassociation of the DNA with the exonuclease site of a second molecule of Klenow fragment.

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