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EMBO J. 1984 Mar;3(3):671-6.

Rapid detection and isolation of covalent DNA/protein complexes: application to topoisomerase I and II.


A rapid and simple method has been developed which allows detection and isolation of covalent DNA/protein adducts. The method is based upon the use of an ionic detergent, SDS, to neutralize cationic sites of weakly bound proteins thereby resulting in their dissociation off the helix. Proteins tightly or covalently bound to DNA that are not dissociable by SDS, result in the precipitation of the DNA fragment by the addition of KCl; however, free nucleic acid does not precipitate. The method is particularly useful as an analytical tool to titrate the binding of prototypic covalent binding proteins, topoisomerase I and II; thus, quantitation of topoisomerase activity is possible under defined conditions. As an analytical tool the method can be used as a general assay in the purification of as yet unidentified topoisomerases or other activities that bind DNA covalently. Moreover, the technology can be adapted for use in a preparative mode to separate covalent complexes from free DNA in a single step.

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