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Biochemistry. 1989 Feb 21;28(4):1478-83.

Comparison of polymerase insertion and extension kinetics of a series of O2-alkyldeoxythymidine triphosphates and O4-methyldeoxythymidine triphosphate.

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Donner Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


The effect of alkyl group size on ability to act as deoxythymidine triphosphate (dTTP) has been studied for the carcinogen products O2-methyl-, O2-ethyl-, and O2-isopropyl-dTTP by using three types of nucleic acids as template and DNA polymerase I (Pol I) or Klenow fragment as the polymerizing enzymes. Apparent Km and relative Vmax values were determined in primer extension on M13 DNA at a single defined site, in poly[d(A-T)], and in nicked DNA. These data are the basis for calculation of the relative rate of insertion opposite A, relative to dTTP. The insertion rate for any O2-alkyl-dTTP is much higher than for a mismatch between unmodified dNTPs. Unexpectedly, O2-isopropyl-dTTP is more efficiently utilized than O2-methyl-dTTP or O2-ethyl-dTTP on each of the templates. O2-isopropyl-dTTP also substitutes for dTTP over extended times of DNA synthesis at a rate only slightly lower than that of dTTP. Parallel experiments using O4-methyl-dTTP under the same conditions show that it is incorporated opposite A more frequently than is O2-methyl-dTTP. Therefore, both the ring position and the size of the alkyl group influence polymerase recognition. Once formed, all O2-alkyl-T.A termini permit elongation, as does O4-methyl-T.A. In contrast to the relative difficulty of incorporating the O-alkyl-dTTPs, formation of the following normal base pair (C.G) occurs rapidly when dGTP is present. This indicates that a single O-alkyl-T.A pair does not confer significant structural distortion recognized by Pol I.

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