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Kinetic Mechanism at the Branchpoint between the DNA Synthesis and Editing Pathways in Individual DNA Polymerase Complexes

Lieberman, Kate R., Dahl, Joseph M., Wang, Hongyun
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014 v.136 no.19 pp. 7117-7131
DNA, DNA replication, DNA-directed DNA polymerase, bacteriophages, electric field, nucleotides
Exonucleolytic editing of incorrectly incorporated nucleotides by replicative DNA polymerases (DNAPs) plays an essential role in the fidelity of DNA replication. Editing requires that the primer strand of the DNA substrate be transferred between the DNAP polymerase and exonuclease sites, separated by a distance that is typically on the order of ∼30 Å. Dynamic transitions between functional states can be quantified with single-nucleotide spatial precision and submillisecond temporal resolution from ionic current time traces recorded when individual DNAP complexes are held atop a nanoscale pore in an electric field. In this study, we have exploited this capability to determine the kinetic relationship between the translocation step and primer strand transfer between the polymerase and exonuclease sites in complexes formed between the replicative DNAP from bacteriophage Φ29 and DNA. We demonstrate that the pathway for primer strand transfer from the polymerase to exonuclease site initiates prior to the translocation step, while complexes are in the pre-translocation state. We developed a mathematical method to determine simultaneously the forward and reverse translocation rates and the rates of primer strand transfer in both directions between the polymerase and the exonuclease sites, and we have applied it to determine these rates for Φ29 DNAP complexes formed with a DNA substrate bearing a fully complementary primer–template duplex. This work provides a framework that will be extended to determine the kinetic mechanisms by which incorporation of noncomplementary nucleotides promotes primer strand transfer from the polymerase site to the exonuclease site.