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Cell. 1987 Nov 6;51(3):493-501.

Transposition of Mu DNA: joining of Mu to target DNA can be uncoupled from cleavage at the ends of Mu.

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National Institute of Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Transposition of Mu involves transfer of the 3' ends of Mu DNA to the 5' ends of a staggered cut in the target DNA. We find that cleavage at the 3' ends of Mu DNA precedes cutting of the target DNA. The resulting nicked species exists as a noncovalent nucleoprotein complex in which the two Mu ends are held together. This cleaved donor complex completes strand transfer when a target DNA, Mu B protein, and ATP are provided. Mu end DNA sequences that have been precisely cut at their 3' ends by a restriction endonuclease, instead of by Mu A protein and HU, are efficiently transferred to a target DNA upon subsequent incubation with Mu A protein, Mu B protein, and ATP. Cleavage of the Mu ends therefore cannot be energetically coupled with joining these ends to a target DNA. We discuss the DNA strand transfer mechanism in view of these results, and propose a model involving direct transfer of the 5' ends of the cut target DNA, from their original partners, to the 3' ends of Mu.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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