3'-5' exonuclease of Klenow fragment: role of amino acid residues within the single-stranded DNA binding region in exonucleolysis and duplex DNA melting.


The mechanism of the 3'-5' exonuclease activity of the Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase I has been investigated with a combination of biochemical and spectroscopic techniques. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to make alanine substitutions of side chains that interact with the DNA substrate on the 5' side of the scissile phosphodiester bond. Kinetic parameters for 3'-5' exonuclease cleavage of single- and double-stranded DNA substrates were determined for each mutant protein in order to probe the role of the selected side chains in the exonuclease reaction. The results indicate that side chains that interact with the penultimate nucleotide (Q419, N420, and Y423) are important for anchoring the DNA substrate at the active site or ensuring proper geometry of the scissile phosphate. In contrast, side chains that interact with the third nucleotide from the DNA terminus (K422 and R455) do not participate directly in exonuclease cleavage of single-stranded DNA. Alanine substitutions of Q419, Y423, and R455 have markedly different effects on the cleavage of single- and double-stranded DNA, causing a much greater loss of activity in the case of a duplex substrate. Time-resolved fluorescence anisotropy decay measurements with a dansyl-labeled primer/template indicate that the Q419A, Y423A, and R455A mutations disrupted the ability of the Klenow fragment to melt duplex DNA and bind the frayed terminus at the exonuclease site. In contrast, the N420A mutation stabilized binding of a duplex terminus to the exonuclease site, suggesting that the N420 side chain facilitates the 3'-5' exonuclease reaction by introducing strain into the bound DNA substrate. Together, these results demonstrate that protein side chains that interact with the second or third nucleotides from the terminus can participate in both the chemical step of the exonuclease reaction, by anchoring the substrate in the active site or by ensuring proper geometry of the scissile phosphate, and in the prechemical steps of double-stranded DNA hydrolysis, by facilitating duplex melting.



Exonuclease Activity


new topics/pols set partial results complete validated


Polymerase Reference Property Result Context
Klenow fragment Lam WC2002 3-5' Exonuclease (proofreading) Yes
Klenow fragment Lam WC2002 5-3' Exonuclease No

Entry validated by:

Log in to edit reference All References

Using Polbase tables:


Tables may be sorted by clicking on any of the column titles. A second click reverses the sort order. <Ctrl> + click on the column titles to sort by more than one column (e.g. family then name).


It is also possible to filter the table by typing into the search box above the table. This will instantly hide lines from the table that do not contain your search text.