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

Crystal structures of 2-acetylaminofluorene and 2-aminofluorene in complex with T7 DNA polymerase reveal mechanisms of mutagenesis.

The carcinogen 2-acetylaminofluorene forms two major DNA adducts: N-(2'-deoxyguanosin-8-yl)-2-acetylaminofluorene (dG-AAF) and its deacetylated derivative, N-(2'-deoxyguanosin-8-yl)-2-aminofluorene (dG-AF). Although the dG-AAF and dG-AF adducts are distinguished only by the presence or absence of an acetyl group, they have profoundly different effects on DNA replication. dG-AAF poses a strong block to DNA synthesis and primarily induces frameshift mutations in bacteria, resulting in the loss of one or two nucleotides during replication past the lesion. dG-AF is less toxic and more easily bypassed by DNA polymerases, albeit with an increased frequency of misincorporation opposite the lesion, primarily resulting in G --> T transversions. We present three crystal structures of bacteriophage T7 DNA polymerase replication complexes, one with dG-AAF in the templating position and two others with dG-AF in the templating position. Our crystallographic data suggest why a dG-AAF adduct blocks replication more strongly than does a dG-AF adduct and provide a possible explanation for frameshift mutagenesis during replication bypass of a dG-AAF adduct. The dG-AAF nucleoside adopts a syn conformation that facilitates the intercalation of its fluorene ring into a hydrophobic pocket on the surface of the fingers subdomain and locks the fingers in an open, inactive conformation. In contrast, the dG-AF base at the templating position is not well defined by the electron density, consistent with weak binding to the polymerase and a possible interchange of this adduct between the syn and anti conformations.[1]


  1. Crystal structures of 2-acetylaminofluorene and 2-aminofluorene in complex with T7 DNA polymerase reveal mechanisms of mutagenesis. Dutta, S., Li, Y., Johnson, D., Dzantiev, L., Richardson, C.C., Romano, L.J., Ellenberger, T. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
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