Effects of bisulfite (sulfur dioxide) on DNA synthesis and fidelity by DNA polymerase I.

Chem Biol Interact (1983), Volume 46, Page 101


In an attempt to explain the mechanism of comutagenesis by bisulfite, the extent and accuracy of DNA synthesis by E. coli DNA polymerase I was examined in the presence of sodium bisulfite. Bisulfite concentration of 100 mM caused nearly complete inhibition of dNTP incorporation into activated calf thymus DNA. Other salts (NaCL, Na2SO4) at the same concentration had no effect on enzyme activity. Preincubation of the various DNA synthesis assay components in 100 mM bisulfite showed that only preincubation of DNA polymerase I caused inhibition of DNA synthesis. Exonuclease functions of DNA polymerase I were unaffected by up to 100 mM bisulfite. Accuracy of DNA synthesis in the presence of bisulfite was determined using poly (dA-dT) as a template-primer. Concentrations of bisulfite greater than 50 mM caused a progressive decrease in enzyme accuracy. At 100 mM bisulfite there was an approximate 7.5-fold decrease in the fidelity of DNA synthesis, compared to control values, as measured by the ratio of noncomplementary (dGTP) to complementary (dTTP) nucleotide incorporated. Based on the known chemistry of bisulfite, it is hypothesized that sulfitolysis of the one disulfide group in DNA polymerase I by bisulfite might be responsible for the reduced polymerase activity and accuracy. The exonuclease functions of DNA polymerase I do not seem to require the disulfide linkage. These results suggest that the effects of bisulfite on mutation frequency might be mediated by effects on the fidelity of DNA repair systems.




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