Characterization of a bimobile DNA junction

Min Lu, Qiu Guo, John E. Mueller, Borries Kemper, F. William Studier, Nadrian C. Seeman, Neville R. Kallenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present here a chemical and enzymatic footprinting analysis of a branched DNA molecule formed from four complementary 50-mer strands. These strands are designed to form a stable junction, in which two steps of branch point migration freedom are possible. Exposure of the junction to Fe(II)-EDTA shows protection of 3 or 4 residues in each strand at the branch, while two resolvase enzymes (endonuclease VII from phage T4 and endonuclease I from phage T7), cleave all four strands near the branch. Chemical footprinting of this junction using the reagents MPE-Fe(II) and (OP)2Cu(I) shows that the branch site is hyper-reactive to cutting induced by these probes as it is in an immobile four-arm junction. The effects involve more residues than in the immobile case. In the absence of divalent cations, the structure of the junction alters, sites of enhanced cleavage by MPE·Fe(II) and (OP)2Cu(I) disappear, and purines at the branch become reactive to diethyl pyrocarbonate. Our interpretation of these results is based on the properties of immobile junction analogs and their response to these probes. In the presence of Mg2+, the three migrational isomers coexist, each probably in the form of a 2-fold symmetric structure with two helical arms stacked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16778-16785
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Oct 5 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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