We present site-directed chemical modification (SDCM), a tool for engineering U-resistant archaeal DNA polymerases of family B. The Thermococcus litoralis Sh1B DNA polymerase (GenBank: GQ891548) was chosen as the object of the study. Similar to D.Tok, Kod1, Pfu, Tgo and other archaeal members of this family, the T. litoralis Sh1B DNA polymerase is a domain structured, proofreading-proficient enzyme that has the polymerization and 3'-->5' DNA exonucleolytic activities and contains N-terminally located highly conserved template-strand U-binding pocket. The tight binding of template uracil in the enzyme pocket during polymerization blocks the replication of DNA containing uracils. This effect can be alleviated by mutations in key amino acids of the U-binding pocket. We altered T. litoralis Sh1B DNA polymerase's ability to read through the template-strand uracils by applying SDCM. Specific modification of individual cysteine residues in U-binding pocket - targets introduced into certain positions by site-directed mutagenesis - enables the enzyme to effectively replicate DNA containing uracils. We demonstrate that the acquired resistance of chemically modified T. litoralis Sh1B DNA polymerase to DNA uracil correlates with its decreased affinity for template-strand uracil.
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