Footprinting studies of specific complexes formed by RepA, a replication initiator of plasmid pCU1, and its binding site

P. P. Papp, P. Elo, S. Semsey, L. Orosz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The basic replicon of plasmid pCU1 contains three different replication origins. Replication initiated from the oriB origin requires pCU1-encoded protein RepA. Previously, information analysis of 19 natural RepA binding sequences predicted a 20-bp sequence as a RepA binding site. Guanines contacting RepA in the major groove of DNA have also been determined. In this study, we used the missing-nucleoside method to determine all of the bases relevant to RepA binding. The importance of some thymine bases was also confirmed by a missing-thymine site interference assay. Participation of the 5-methyl groups of two thymines (at positions -6 and 7) in RepA binding was pointed out by a missing-thymine methyl site interference assay. Phosphate groups of the DNA backbone which strongly interfered with RepA binding upon ethylation were also identified. The pattern of contacting positions mapped by hydroxyl radical protection footprinting indicates that RepA binds to one face of B-form DNA. The length of the binding site was found to be 20 bp by dissociation rate measurement of complexes formed between RepA and a variety of binding sequences. The symmetry of the binding site and that of the contacting bases, particularly the reacting 5-methyl groups of two thymines, suggest that pCU1-encoded RepA may contact its site as a homodimer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5409-5415
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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