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Supercoiling-dependent flexibility of adenosine-tract-containing DNA detected by a topological method

The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
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  • Biological Sciences
  • Mathematics


Intrinsically bent DNA sequences have been implicated in the activation of transcription by promoting juxtaposition of DNA sequences near the terminal loop of a superhelical domain. We have developed a novel topological assay for DNA looping based on λ integrative recombination to study the effects of intrinsically bent DNA sequences on the tertiary structure of negatively supercoiled DNA. Remarkably, the localization of adenosine-tract (A-tract) sequences in the terminal loop of a supercoiled plasmid is independent of the extent of intrinsic bending. The results suggest that A-tract-containing sequences have other properties that organize the structure of superhelical domains apart from intrinsic bending and may explain the lack of conservation in the degree of A-tract-dependent bending among DNA sequences located upstream of bacterial promoters.

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