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J Biol Chem. 1996 Nov 29;271(48):30699-708.

Dynamics of loading the beta sliding clamp of DNA polymerase III onto DNA.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Hedco Molecular Biology Laboratories, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-1340, USA.


A "minimal" DNA primer-template system, consisting of an 80-mer template and 30-mer primer, supports processive DNA synthesis by DNA polymerase III core in the presence of the beta sliding clamp, gamma complex clamp loader, and single-stranded binding protein from Escherichia coli. This primer-template system was used to measure the loading of the beta sliding clamp by the gamma complex in an ATP-dependent reaction. Bound protein-DNA complexes were detected by monitoring fluorescence depolarization of DNA. Steady state and time-resolved anisotropies were measured, and stopped-flow pre-steady state fluorescence measurements allowed visualization of the loading reactions in real time. The rate of loading beta onto DNA was 12 s-1, demonstrating that clamp assembly is rapid on the time scale required for lagging strand Okazaki fragment synthesis. The association rate appears to be limited by an intramolecular step occurring prior to the clamp-loading reaction, possibly the opening of the toroidal beta dimer.

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