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EMBO J. 1986 Jan;5(1):181-9.

Endonuclease VII resolves Y-junctions in branched DNA in vitro.


Endonuclease VII (gp 49 of phage T4) resolves four-way junctions in branched DNAs. We have extended our investigations of the specificity of endo VII and tested its activity with three-way junctions (Y-structures) constructed in vitro. Both 'closed' and 'open' Y-structures were made, absolutely identical in sequence but differing from each other by a single nick in one of the three arms. Pure Y-structures were obtained on a preparative scale by annealing plus and minus strands from two M13mp strains. One strain has an inverted repeat of 2 X 31 nucleotides cloned into the single EcoRI site while in the other strain this repeat is absent. The structures were used in reactions with endo VII, which recognizes the branch point of both structures and introduces a characteristic number of nicks, 3' to the junction in each arm of the structure. Strong and weak sites could be distinguished and the cleavage pattern differed significantly between the two structures. The observed resolution of Y-junctions by endo VII in vitro is compatible with a model for the resolution of recombinant Y-branches in DNA.

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