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Dividing a supercoiled DNA molecule into two independent topological domains.

Authors
  • Leng, Fenfei
  • Chen, Bo
  • Dunlap, David D
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Dec 13, 2011
Volume
108
Issue
50
Pages
19973–19978
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1109854108
PMID: 22123985
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic chromosomes are organized into many independent topological domains. These topological domains may be formed through constraining each DNA end from rotating by interacting with nuclear proteins; i.e., DNA-binding proteins. However, so far, evidence to support this hypothesis is still elusive. Here we developed two biochemical methods; i.e., DNA-nicking and DNA-gyrase methods to examine whether certain sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins are capable of separating a supercoiled DNA molecule into distinct topological domains. Our approach is based on the successful construction of a series of plasmid DNA templates that contain many tandem copies of one or two DNA-binding sites in two different locations. With these approaches and atomic force microscopy, we discovered that several sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins; i.e., lac repressor, gal repressor, and λ O protein, are able to divide a supercoiled DNA molecule into two independent topological domains. These topological domains are stable under our experimental conditions. Our results can be explained by a topological barrier model in which nucleoprotein complexes confine DNA supercoils to localized regions. We propose that DNA topological barriers are certain nucleoprotein complexes that contain stable toroidal supercoils assembled from DNA-looping or tightly wrapping DNA around DNA-binding proteins. The DNA topological barrier model may be a general mechanism for certain DNA-binding proteins, such as histone or histone-like proteins, to modulate topology of chromosome DNA in vivo.

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