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Biochemistry. 1998 Jan 20;37(3):891-9.

Kinetic mechanism for the sequential binding of two single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides to the Escherichia coli Rep helicase dimer.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Escherichia coli Rep helicase is a DNA motor protein that unwinds duplex DNA as a dimeric enzyme. Using fluorescence probes positioned asymmetrically within a series of single-stranded (ss) oligodeoxynucleotides, we show that ss-DNA binds with a defined polarity to Rep monomers and to individual subunits of the Rep dimer. Using fluorescence resonance energy transfer and stopped-flow techniques, we have examined the mechanism of ss-oligodeoxynucleotide binding to preformed Rep dimers in which one binding site is occupied by a single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotide, while the other site is free (P2S dimer). We show that ss-DNA binding to the P2S Rep dimer to form the doubly ligated P2S2 dimer occurs by a multistep process with the initial binding step occurring relatively rapidly with a bimolecular rate constant of k1 = approximately 2 x 10(6) M-1 s-1 [20 mM Tris (pH 7.5), 6 mM NaCl, 5 mM MgCl2, 5 mM 2-mercaptoethanol, and 10% (v/v) glycerol, 4 degrees C]. A minimal kinetic mechanism is proposed which suggests that the two strands of ss-DNA bound to the Rep homodimer are kinetically distinct even within the P2S2 Rep dimer, indicating that this dimer is functionally asymmetric. The implications of these results for the mechanisms of DNA unwinding and translocation by the functional Rep dimer are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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