Nucleotide binding to DNA gyrase causes loss of DNA wrap

J Mol Biol. 2004 Mar 26;337(3):597-610. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2004.01.049.


DNA gyrase negatively supercoils DNA in a reaction coupled to the binding and hydrolysis of ATP. Limited supercoiling can be achieved in the presence of the non-hydrolysable ATP analogue, 5'-adenylyl beta,gamma-imidodiphosphate (ADPNP). In order to negatively supercoil DNA, gyrase must wrap a length of DNA around itself in a positive sense. In previous work, the effect of ADPNP on the gyrase-DNA interaction has been assessed but has produced conflicting results; the aim of this work was to resolve this conflict. We have probed the wrapping of DNA around gyrase in the presence and in the absence of ADPNP using direct observation by atomic force microscopy (AFM). We confirm that gyrase indeed generates a significant curvature in DNA in the absence of nucleotide and we show that the addition of ADPNP leads to a complete loss of wrap. These results have been corroborated using a DNA relaxation assay involving topoisomerase I. We have re-analysed previous hydroxyl-radical footprinting and crystallography data, and highlight the fact that the gyrase-DNA complex is surprisingly asymmetric in the absence of nucleotide but is symmetric in the presence of ADPNP. We suggest a revised model for the conformation of DNA bound to the enzyme that is fully consistent with these AFM data, in which a closed loop of DNA is stabilised by the enzyme in the absence of ADPNP and is lost in the presence of nucleotide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Gyrase / metabolism*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation / drug effects
  • Nucleotides / metabolism*


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Nucleotides
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • DNA
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I
  • DNA Gyrase