Elongation of repetitive DNA by DNA polymerase from a hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus.


Short repetitive DNA sequences are believed to be one of the ...
Short repetitive DNA sequences are believed to be one of the primordial genetic elements that served as a source of complex large DNA found in the genome of modern organisms. However, the mechanism of its expansion (increase in repeat number) during the course of evolution is unclear. We demonstrate that the DNA polymerase of the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus can elongate oligoDNA with several tandem repeats to very long DNA in vitro. For instance, 48mer repetitive oligoDNA (TACATGTA)(6), which has 25% GC content and a palindromic sequence, can be elongated up to approximately 10 000 bases by DNA polymerase at 74 degrees C without template DNA. OligoDNA having a different GC content or a quasi-palindromic sequence can also be elongated, but less efficiently. A spectroscopic thermal melting experiment with the oligoDNA showed that its hairpin-coil transition temperature was very close to the elongation reaction temperature (74 degrees C), but was much higher than the temperature at which duplex oligoDNA can exist stably. Taken together, we conclude that repetitive oligoDNA with a palindromic or quasi-palindromic sequence is elongated extensively by a hyperthermophilic DNA polymerase through hairpin-coil transitions. We propose that such an elongation mechanism might have been a driving force to expand primordial short DNA.




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