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J Mol Biol. 1985 Nov 5;186(1):1-11.

On the sequence determinants and flexibility of the kinetoplast DNA fragment with abnormal gel electrophoretic mobilities.


A 410 base-pair (bp) Sau3A restriction fragment derived from a Leishmania tarentolae kinetoplast DNA minicircle, which is known to have slower than expected electrophoretic mobilities in polyacrylamide gels, has been cloned in a plasmid and deletions from one end of the cloned segment have been constructed. Analysis of the gel electrophoretic mobility data of a large number of restriction fragments derived from the kinetoplast DNA clone and its deletion subclones has led to the conclusion that two sequences, one in the region bp 100 to 170 and the other bp 190 to 250, both numbered from one end of the 410 bp kinetoplast DNA segment, are important for the abnormal gel electrophoretic behavior of the kinetoplast DNA fragment. One common feature of these sequences is the periodic presence of short runs of A residues (3 to 6 As in each); auto-correlation analysis of these runs of A residues shows a strong harmonic component with a period around 11 bp. These results support and extend the previous analysis of Wu & Crothers (1984). The abnormal electrophoretic behavior is accentuated at low temperature and by the addition of Mg2+ to the electrophoresis buffer; addition of Na+ has the opposite effect. Insertion of sequences derived from the kinetoplast DNA fragment into nicked circular DNA causes no unexpected change in its electrophoretic mobility in agarose gel, suggesting that the 410 bp sequence, or segments of it, has no significant spatial writhe. Abnormal shifts in agarose gel mobilities are observed, however, when certain segments of the kinetoplast DNA are inserted into positively or negatively supercoiled DNA topoisomers. These results are consistent with a bent structure of the kinetoplast DNA in which the bend has zero writhe in its undistorted form but is easily distorted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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