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.
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.
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- Nature Communications
- Nature Publishing Group
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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