Characterization of the helicase and primase activities of the 63-kDa component of the bacteriophage T7 gene 4 protein.

Abstract:

Leading and lagging strand DNA synthesis at the replication fork of bacteriophage T7 DNA requires the helicase and primase activities of the gene 4 protein. Gene 4 protein consists of two colinear polypeptides of 56- and 63-kDa molecular mass. We have demonstrated previously that the 56-kDa protein possesses helicase but lacks primase activity (Bernstein, J. A., and Richardson, C. C. (1988) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 85, 396-400). The 63-kDa gene 4 protein has now been purified from extracts of T7-infected cells. The preparation contains 5-10% contaminating 56-kDa protein, as shown by Western analysis using polyclonal antibodies to the purified 56-kDa protein. The 63-kDa protein catalyzes DNA-dependent dTTP hydrolysis and has helicase activity; both specific activities are similar to those determined for the 56-kDa protein. The 63-kDa protein efficiently synthesizes sequence-specific di-, tri-, and tetraribonucleotides and stimulates the elongation of tetraribonucleotides by T7 DNA polymerase. Although the 56-kDa protein alone lacks primase activity, it enhances the primase activity of the 63-kDa protein 4-fold. This stimulation can be accounted for by a similar increase in the amount of primers synthesized by the 63-kDa protein in the presence of the 56-kDa protein.

Polymerases:

T7

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