DNA unwinding step-size of E. coli RecBCD helicase determined from single turnover chemical quenched-flow kinetic studies

Aaron L. Lucius, Alessandro Vindigni, Razmic Gregorian, Janid A. Ali, Andrew F. Taylor, Gerald R. Smith, Timothy M. Lohman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mechanism by which Escherichia coli RecBCD DNA helicase unwinds duplex DNA was examined in vitro using pre-steady-state chemical quenched-flow kinetic methods. Single turnover DNA unwinding experiments were performed by addition of ATP to RecBCD that was prebound to a series of DNA substrates containing duplex DNA regions ranging from 24 bp to 60 bp. In each case, the time-course for formation of completely unwound DNA displayed a distinct lag phase that increased with duplex length, reflecting the transient formation of partially unwound DNA intermediates during unwinding catalyzed by RecBCD. Quantitative analysis of five independent sets of DNA unwinding time courses indicates that RecBCD unwinds duplex DNA in discrete steps, with an average unwinding "step-size", m = 3.9(±1.3) bp step-1, with an average unwinding rate of kU = 196(±77) steps s-1 (mkU = 790(±23) bp s-1) at 25.0°C (10 mM MgCl2, 30 mM NaCl (pH 7.0),) 5% (v/v) glycerol). However, additional steps, not linked directly to DNA unwinding are also detected. This kinetic DNA unwinding step-size is similar to that determined for the E. coli UvrD helicase, suggesting that these two SF1 superfamily helicases may share similar mechanisms of DNA unwinding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-428
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Volume324
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • ATPase
  • Helicase
  • Kinetics
  • Mechanism
  • Motor protein
  • Recombination

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