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J Biol Chem. 1988 Nov 5;263(31):16433-42.

Studies on the role of the phi X174 gene A protein in phi X viral strand synthesis. II. Effects of DNA replication of mutations in the 30-nucleotide icosahedral bacteriophage origin.

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Department of Development Biology and Cancer, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461.


phi X174 viral strand circular DNA can be synthesized in vitro from phi X174 replicative form I (RFI) DNA in the presence of the phi X A protein, the Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III elongation system, the E. coli rep helicase, and the E. coli single-stranded DNA binding protein. M13mp9 or pBR322 RFI DNAs containing a 30-base pair sequence found at the phi X origin of replication supported phi X A protein synthesis as well as the phi X template, giving rise to a net molar excess of deoxynucleotide incorporation. In this paper, we show that mutations in positions 1-3 of the 30-nucleotide origin replicated at a lower efficiency than plasmids containing the wild-type origin, because of a deficiency in the reinitiation reaction. Mutations in positions 4-7, upstream of the phi X A protein cleavage site, failed to support replication because of their inability to support nicking. An origin containing a mutation at the residue to which the phi X A protein is covalently linked to the DNA was an active template that supported a net molar excess of incorporation. Mutations at the 3' end of the origin region, retaining only the first 21-25 nucleotides of the 30-base pair origin, failed to support replication because of impaired binding of the phi X A protein to the template and consequently poor nicking. A construct bearing the first 28 nucleotides of the origin supported wild-type replication, as did a plasmid containing a 28-mer origin with a point mutation at position 26, but this latter construct also appeared to be partially deficient in phi X A protein binding activity. These results are consistent with the presence of a phi X A protein binding domain at the 3' end of the origin.

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