Engineered helicase replaces thermocycler in DNA amplification while retaining desired PCR characteristics
Abstract

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is an essential method in molecular diagnostics and life sciences. PCR requires thermal cycling for heating the DNA for strand separation and cooling it for replication. The process uses a specialized hardware and exposes biomolecules to temperatures above 95 °C. Here, we engineer a PcrA M6 helicase with enhanced speed and processivity to replace the heating step by enzymatic DNA unwinding while retaining desired PCR characteristics. We name this isothermal amplification method SHARP (SSB-Helicase Assisted Rapid PCR) because it uses the engineered helicase and single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) in addition to standard PCR reagents. SHARP can generate amplicons with lengths of up to 6000 base pairs. SHARP can produce functional DNA, a plasmid that imparts cells with antibiotic resistance, and can amplify specific fragments from genomic DNA of human cells. We further use SHARP to assess the outcome of CRISPR-Cas9 editing at endogenous genomic sites.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10376657
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Volume:
13
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
National Science Foundation
##### More Like this
1. Abstract

In rapidly growing cells, with recombinational DNA repair required often and a new replication fork passing every 20 min, the pace of RecA-mediated DNA strand exchange is potentially much too slow for bacterial DNA metabolism. The enigmatic RadD protein, a putative SF2 family helicase, exhibits no independent helicase activity on branched DNAs. Instead, RadD greatly accelerates RecA-mediated DNA strand exchange, functioning only when RecA protein is present. The RadD reaction requires the RadD ATPase activity, does not require an interaction with SSB, and may disassemble RecA filaments as it functions. We present RadD as a new class of enzyme, an accessory protein that accelerates DNA strand exchange, possibly with a helicase-like action, in a reaction that is entirely RecA-dependent. RadD is thus a DNA strand exchange (recombination) synergist whose primary function is to coordinate closely with and accelerate the DNA strand exchange reactions promoted by the RecA recombinase. Multiple observations indicate a uniquely close coordination of RadD with RecA function.

2. Abstract

In Escherichia coli, the single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSB) acts as a genome maintenance organizational hub by interacting with multiple DNA metabolism proteins. Many SSB-interacting proteins (SIPs) form complexes with SSB by docking onto its carboxy-terminal tip (SSB-Ct). An alternative interaction mode in which SIPs bind to PxxP motifs within an intrinsically-disordered linker (IDL) in SSB has been proposed for the RecG DNA helicase and other SIPs. Here, RecG binding to SSB and SSB peptides was measured in vitro and the RecG/SSB interface was identified. The results show that RecG binds directly and specifically to the SSB-Ct, and not the IDL, through an evolutionarily conserved binding site in the RecG helicase domain. Mutations that block RecG binding to SSB sensitize E. coli to DNA damaging agents and induce the SOS DNA-damage response, indicating formation of the RecG/SSB complex is important in vivo. The broader role of the SSB IDL is also investigated. E. coli ssb mutant strains encoding SSB IDL deletion variants lacking all PxxP motifs retain wildtype growth and DNA repair properties, demonstrating that the SSB PxxP motifs are not major contributors to SSB cellular functions.

4. Abstract Background

Structural variation (SV), which ranges from 50 bp to$$\sim$$$\sim$ 3 Mb in size, is an important type of genetic variations. Deletion is a type of SV in which a part of a chromosome or a sequence of DNA is lost during DNA replication. Three types of signals, including discordant read-pairs, reads depth and split reads, are commonly used for SV detection from high-throughput sequence data. Many tools have been developed for detecting SVs by using one or multiple of these signals.

Results

In this paper, we develop a new method called EigenDel for detecting the germline submicroscopic genomic deletions. EigenDel first takes advantage of discordant read-pairs and clipped reads to get initial deletion candidates, and then it clusters similar candidates by using unsupervised learning methods. After that, EigenDel uses a carefully designed approach for calling true deletions from each cluster. We conduct various experiments to evaluate the performance of EigenDel on low coverage sequence data.

Conclusions

Our results show that EigenDel outperforms other major methods in terms of improving capability of balancing accuracy and sensitivity as well as reducing bias. EigenDel can be downloaded fromhttps://github.com/lxwgcool/EigenDel.

5. Abstract

Human cancers often re-express germline factors, yet their mechanistic role in oncogenesis and cancer progression remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that DEAD-box helicase 4 (DDX4), a germline factor and RNA helicase conserved in all multicellular organisms, contributes to increased cell motility and cisplatin-mediated drug resistance in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells. Proteomic analysis suggests that DDX4 expression upregulates proteins related to DNA repair and immune/inflammatory response. Consistent with these trends in cell lines, DDX4 depletion compromised in vivo tumor development while its overexpression enhanced tumor growth even after cisplatin treatment in nude mice. Further, the relatively higher DDX4 expression in SCLC patients correlates with decreased survival and shows increased expression of immune/inflammatory response markers. Taken together, we propose that DDX4 increases SCLC cell survival, by increasing the DNA damage and immune response pathways, especially under challenging conditions such as cisplatin treatment.