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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhibition of DNA helicase II unwinding and ATPase activities by DNA-interacting ligands. Kinetics and specificity.

Although DNA helicases play important roles in the processing of DNA, little is known about the effects of DNA-interacting ligands on these helicases. Therefore, the effects of a wide variety of DNA-binding ligands on the unwinding and ATPase reactions catalyzed by Escherichia coli DNA helicase II were examined. DNA minor groove binders and simple DNA intercalators did not inhibit helicase II. However, DNA intercalators, such as mitoxantrone and nogalamycin, which position functionalities in the major groove upon binding duplex DNA, were potent inhibitors of helicase II. To determine the mechanism by which mitoxantrone inhibited helicase II, the unwinding and DNA-dependent ATPase activities of helicase II were measured using a spectrum of double- and single-stranded DNA substrates. Using either a 71-base pair (bp) M13mp7 partially duplexed DNA substrate or a 245-bp bluntended, fully duplexed DNA substrate, the apparent Ki value for inhibition by mitoxantrone of both the unwinding and ATPase reactions was approximately 1 microM for both substrates, suggesting that the mechanism of inhibition of helicase II by mitoxantrone is the same for both substrates and requires the presence of double-stranded structure. To strengthen this conclusion, the ability of mitoxantrone to inhibit the DNA-dependent ATPase activity of helicase II was determined using two single-stranded substrates, poly(dT) and the 245-bp substrate after heat denaturation. Using either substrate, mitoxantrone inhibited the ATPase activity of helicase II far less effectively. Thus, these results indicate that the intercalation of mitoxantrone into double-stranded DNA, with accompanying placement of functionalities in the major groove, generates a complex that impedes helicase II, resulting in both inhibition of ATP hydrolysis and unwinding activity. Furthermore, we report here that DNA-binding ligands inhibit the unwinding activity of helicases I and IV and Rep protein from E. coli, demonstrating that the inhibition observed for helicase II is not unique to this enzyme.[1]


  1. Inhibition of DNA helicase II unwinding and ATPase activities by DNA-interacting ligands. Kinetics and specificity. George, J.W., Ghate, S., Matson, S.W., Besterman, J.M. J. Biol. Chem. (1992) [Pubmed]
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