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J Mol Biol. 1986 Jun 20;189(4):643-52.

Evidence for an intermediate in DNA synthesis involving pyrophosphate exchange. A possible role in fidelity.


The incorporation of exogenous deoxyribonucleotide monophates (dNMP) was measured under conditions of ongoing DNA synthesis, providing arguments for the existence of a [DNAn X dNMP X PPi] intermediate in the nucleotide incorporation step of DNA synthesis: (formula; see text). The existence of such an intermediate is suggested by an apparent exchange of both dNMP and pyrophosphate (PPi) moieties of the deoxyribonucleotide triphosphate (dNTP) substrate with exogenous molecules. Such exchange and the incorporation of exogenous dNMP into DNA, strictly require ongoing DNA synthesis, suggesting that the energy for exchange reactions is provided by the cleavage of dNTP substrate. We propose that nucleotide selection during ongoing DNA synthesis results largely from the different relative rates of forward (beta) and backward (-alpha) reactions involving the [DNAn X dNMP X PPi] intermediate: the forward (incorporation) reaction is expected to predominate for the correct nucleotide, whereas the backward (abortive) reaction is expected to predominate for incorrect nucleotides.

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