Molecular analysis of plasmid DNA repair within ultraviolet-irradiated Escherichia coli. I. T4 endonuclease V-initiated excision repair

E. A. Gruskin, R. S. Lloyd

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The process by which DNA-interactive proteins locate specific sequences or target sites on cellular DNA within Escherichia coli is a poorly understood phenomenon. In this study, we present the first direct in vivo analysis of the interaction of a DNA repair enzyme, T4 endonuclease V, and its substrate, pyrimidine dimer-containing plasmid DNA, within UV-irradiated E. coli. A pyrimidine dimer represents a small target site within large domains of DNA. There are two possible paradigms by which endonuclease V could locate these small target sites: a processive mechanism in which the enzyme 'scans' DNA for dimer sites or a distributive process in which dimers are located by random three-dimensional diffusion. In order the discriminate between these two possibilities in E. coli, an in vivo DNA repair assay was developed to study the kinetics of plasmid DNA repair and the dimer frequency (i.e. the number of dimer sites on a given plasmid molecule) in plasmid DNA as a function of time during repair. Our results demonstrate that the overall process of plasmid DNA repair initiated by T4 endonuclease V (expressed from a recombinant plasmid within repair-deficient E. coli) occurs by a processive mechanism. Furthermore, by reducing the temperature of the repair incubation, the endonuclease V-catalyzed incision step has been effectively decoupled from the subsequent steps including repair patch synthesis, ligation, and supercoiling. By this manipulation, it was determined that the overall processive mechanism is composed of two phases: a rapid processive endonuclease V-catalyzed incision reaction, followed by a slower processive mechanism, the ultimate product of which is the dimer-free supercoiled plasmid molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12728-12737
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 1 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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