Stoichiometric incorporation of base substitutions at specific sites in supercoiled DNA and supercoiled recombination intermediates

Division of Molecular Medicine, Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Bacteriology, Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia.
Nucleic Acids Research (Impact Factor: 9.11). 10/2010; 38(18):e175. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq674
Source: PubMed


Supercoiled DNA is the relevant substrate for a large number of DNA transactions and has additionally been found to be a favorable form for delivering DNA and protein-DNA complexes to cells. We report here a facile method for stoichiometrically incorporating several different modifications at multiple, specific, and widely spaced sites in supercoiled DNA. The method is based upon generating an appropriately gapped circular DNA, starting from single-strand circular DNA from two phagemids with oppositely oriented origins of replication. The gapped circular DNA is annealed with labeled and unlabeled synthetic oligonucleotides to make a multiply nicked circle, which is covalently sealed and supercoiled. The method is efficient, robust and can be readily scaled up to produce large quantities of labeled supercoiled DNA for biochemical and structural studies. We have applied this method to generate dye-labeled supercoiled DNA with heteroduplex bubbles for a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) analysis of supercoiled Holliday junction intermediates in the λ integrative recombination reaction. We found that a higher-order structure revealed by FRET in the supercoiled Holliday junction intermediate is preserved in the linear recombination product. We suggest that in addition to studies on recombination complexes, these methods will be generally useful in other reactions and systems involving supercoiled DNA.

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    ABSTRACT: The virally encoded site-specific recombinase Int collaborates with its accessory DNA bending proteins IHF, Xis, and Fis to assemble two distinct, very large, nucleoprotein complexes that carry out either integrative or excisive recombination along regulated and essentially unidirectional pathways. The core of each complex consists of a tetramer of Integrase protein (Int), which is a heterobivalent DNA binding protein that binds and bridges a core-type DNA site (where strand cleavage and ligation are executed), and a distal arm-type site, that is brought within range by one or more DNA bending proteins. The recent determination of the patterns of these Int bridges has made it possible to think realistically about the global architecture of the recombinogenic complexes. Here, we combined the previously determined Int bridging patterns with in-gel FRET experiments and in silico modeling to characterize and differentiate the two 400-kDa multiprotein Holiday junction recombination intermediates formed during λ integration and excision. The results lead to architectural models that explain how integration and excision are regulated in λ site-specific recombination. Our confidence in the basic features of these architectures is based on the redundancy and self-consistency of the underlying data from two very different experimental approaches to establish bridging interactions, a set of strategic intracomplex distances from FRET experiments, and the model's ability to explain key aspects of the integrative and excisive recombination pathways, such as topological changes, the mechanism of capturing attB, and the features of asymmetry and flexibility within the complexes.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The site-specific recombinase encoded by bacteriophage λ [λ Integrase (Int)] is responsible for integrating and excising the viral chromosome into and out of the chromosome of its Escherichia coli host. In contrast to the other well-studied and highly exploited tyrosine recombinase family members, such as Cre and Flp, Int carries out a reaction that is highly directional, tightly regulated, and depends on an ensemble of accessory DNA bending proteins acting on 240 bp of DNA encoding 16 protein binding sites. This additional complexity enables two pathways, integrative and excisive recombination, whose opposite, and effectively irreversible, directions are dictated by different physiological and environmental signals. Int recombinase is a heterobivalent DNA binding protein that binds via its small amino-terminal domain to high affinity arm-type DNA sites and via its large, compound carboxyl-terminal domain to core-type DNA sites, where DNA cleavage and ligation are executed. Each of the four Int protomers, within a multiprotein 400-kDa recombinogenic complex, is thought to bind and, with the aid of DNA bending proteins, bridge one arm- and one core-type DNA site. Despite a wealth of genetic, biochemical, and functional information generated by many laboratories over the last 50 y, it has not been possible to decipher the patterns of Int bridges, an essential step in understanding the architectures responsible for regulated directionality of recombination. We used site-directed chemical cross-linking of Int in trapped Holliday junction recombination intermediates and recombination reactions with chimeric recombinases, to identify the unique and monogamous patterns of Int bridges for integrative and excisive recombination.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences