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J Biol Chem. 1995 May 12;270(19):11636-45.

Proteolytic footprinting of vaccinia topoisomerase bound to DNA.

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Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Vaccinia DNA topoisomerase, a member of the eukaryotic type I enzyme family, binds duplex DNA and forms a covalent protein.DNA complex at sites containing a conserved sequence element 5'-CCCTT decreases. The structure of the enzyme in the free and DNA-bound states was probed by limited proteolysis. The free topoisomerase (a 314-amino acid polypeptide) consists of protease-resistant amino- and carboxyl-terminal structural domains flanking a protease-sensitive "hinge." The hinge region, located between residues 135 and 142, is defined by accessibility to three different proteases. The amino-terminal region is punctuated by a trypsin-sensitive "bridge" at Arg-80, suggesting at least a tripartite domain structure overall. A specific subset of residues accessible to proteases in the free enzyme becomes resistant to proteolysis in the DNA-bound state. The trypsin-sensitive site at Arg-80 is protected almost completely in the covalent complex. Within the hinge region, Lys-135, Tyr-136, and Glu-139 are protected from trypsin, chymotrypsin, and V8, respectively. Acquisition of altered protease sensitivity upon DNA binding occurs prior to covalent adduct formation. The 20-kDa carboxyl domain by itself binds noncovalently to duplex DNA, albeit without the sequence specificity characteristic of the full-sized topoisomerase.

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