Unwinding of origin-specific structures by human replication protein A occurs in a two-step process

Cristina Iftode, James A. Borowiec

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The simian virus 40 (SV40) large tumor antigen (T antigen) has been shown to induce the melting of 8 bp within the SV40 origin of replication. We found previously that a 'pseudo-origin' DNA molecule (PO-8) containing a central 8 nt single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) bubble was efficiently bound and denatured by human replication protein A (hRPA). To understand the mechanism by which hRPA denatures these pseudo-origin molecules, as well as the role that hRPA plays during the initiation of SV40 DNA replication, we characterized the key parameters far the pseudo-origin binding and denaturation reactions. The dissociation constant of hRPA binding to PO-8 was observed to be 7.7 x 10-7 M, compared to 9.0 x 10-8 M for binding to an identical length ssDNA under the same reaction conditions. The binding and denaturation of PO-8 occurred with different kinetics with the rate of binding determined to be ~4-fold greater than the rate of denaturation. Although hRPA binding to PO-8 was relatively temperature independent, an increase in incubation temperature from 4 to 37°C stimulated denaturation nearly 4-fold. At 37°C, denaturation occurred on ~1/3 of those substrate molecules bound by hRPA, showing that hRPA can bind the pseudo-origin substrate without causing its complete denaturation. Tests of other single-stranded DNA-binding proteins (SSBs) over a range of SSB concentrations revealed that the ability of the SSBs to bind the pseudo-origin substrate, rather than denature the substrate, correlated best with the known ability of these SSBs to support the T antigen-dependent SV40 origin-unwinding activity. Our data indicate that hRPA first binds the DNA substrate using a combination of contacts with the ssDNA bubble and duplex DNA flanks and then, on only a fraction of the bound substrate molecules, denatures the DNA substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5636-5643
Number of pages8
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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