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Comparative Study
. 2017 Dec 28;12(12):e0190062.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190062. eCollection 2017.

Comparative Analysis of the End-Joining Activity of Several DNA Ligases

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Free PMC article
Comparative Study

Comparative Analysis of the End-Joining Activity of Several DNA Ligases

Robert J Bauer et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

DNA ligases catalyze the repair of phosphate backbone breaks in DNA, acting with highest activity on breaks in one strand of duplex DNA. Some DNA ligases have also been observed to ligate two DNA fragments with short complementary overhangs or blunt-ended termini. In this study, several wild-type DNA ligases (phage T3, T4, and T7 DNA ligases, Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV1) DNA ligase, human DNA ligase 3, and Escherichia coli DNA ligase) were tested for their ability to ligate DNA fragments with several difficult to ligate end structures (blunt-ended termini, 3'- and 5'- single base overhangs, and 5'-two base overhangs). This analysis revealed that T4 DNA ligase, the most common enzyme utilized for in vitro ligation, had its greatest activity on blunt- and 2-base overhangs, and poorest on 5'-single base overhangs. Other ligases had different substrate specificity: T3 DNA ligase ligated only blunt ends well; PBCV1 DNA ligase joined 3'-single base overhangs and 2-base overhangs effectively with little blunt or 5'- single base overhang activity; and human ligase 3 had highest activity on blunt ends and 5'-single base overhangs. There is no correlation of activity among ligases on blunt DNA ends with their activity on single base overhangs. In addition, DNA binding domains (Sso7d, hLig3 zinc finger, and T4 DNA ligase N-terminal domain) were fused to PBCV1 DNA ligase to explore whether modified binding to DNA would lead to greater activity on these difficult to ligate substrates. These engineered ligases showed both an increased binding affinity for DNA and increased activity, but did not alter the relative substrate preferences of PBCV1 DNA ligase, indicating active site structure plays a role in determining substrate preference.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: Robert J. Bauer, Alexander Zhelkovsky, Katharina Bilotti, Thomas C. Evans, Jr., Larry A. McReynolds and Gregory J. S. Lohman are employees of New England Biolabs, a manufacturer and vendor of molecular biology reagents including DNA ligases. New England Biolabs funded the work and paid the salaries of all authors. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Figures

Fig 1
Fig 1. Schematic representation of DNA ligase fusions.
All DNA ligases contain a catalytic core NTase domain (blue) and an OBD (red), which are fairly well conserved. Many ligases also have additional domains, such as the N-terminal ZnF (yellow) and DBD (green) in Human Lig3 and the N-terminal domain (NTD) of T4 DNA ligase (purple). Wild type PBCV1 ligase, which contains only the core NTase and OBD domains, was chosen for fusion to other binding domains: Sso7d (white) at both the N- and C-termini, the hLig3 ZnF domain, and the T4 DNA ligase NTD.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Wild type DNA ligase λ DNA digest ligation assay.
Agarose gel electrophoresis of λ DNA cut by EcoRV (A/T Blunt, 1), NruI (G/C Blunt, 2), BstNI (5′ SBO, 3), Hpy188I (3′SBO, 4), NdeI (2 BO, 5) and BamHI (4 BO, 6), generating DNA fragments with ligatable ends. 0.5 ng of the cut DNA was ligated in the presence of T4 ligase reaction buffer (50 mM Tris-HCl pH 7.5 @ 25°C, 1 mM ATP and 10 mM MgCl2) or NEBNext® Quick Ligation reaction buffer (66 mM Tris pH 7.6 @ 25°C, 10 mM MgCl2, 1 mM DTT, 1 mM ATP, 6% polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000)) and 7 μM of the indicated DNA ligase for 1 hour at 25°C. Ligation assays performed with T4 DNA ligase (A), T3 DNA ligase (B), PBCV1 DNA ligase (C) and, hLig3 (D), respectively. E) Gel of restriction enzyme digested λ DNA samples as well as a schematic depiction of each substrate. The DNA fragments were visualized using ethidium bromide stain.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Wild type DNA ligase blunt/cohesive capillary electrophoresis assay.
Bar graphs depict the fraction of either ligated DNA (product, blue) or abortive adenylylation (App, red) produced in a 20-minute sealing reaction with the indicated DNA substrate. Reactions included 1 μM of the DNA ligase, 100 nM of the substrate and reaction conditions consisting of either T4 DNA ligase reaction buffer (50 mM Tris-HCl pH 7.5 @ 25°C, 1 mM ATP and 10 mM MgCl2) or NEBNext® Quick Ligation reaction buffer (66 mM Tris pH 7.6 @ 25°C, 10 mM MgCl2, 1 mM DTT, 1 mM ATP, 6% Polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000)). Ligation assays performed with T4 DNA ligase (A), T3 DNA ligase (B), PBCV1 DNA ligase (C) and hLig3 (D), respectively Experiments were performed in triplicate; the plotted value is the average and the error bars represent the standard deviation across replicates.
Fig 4
Fig 4. Effect of DBDs on blunt/cohesive end λ DNA Re-ligation.
Agarose gel electrophoresis of λ DNA cut by EcoRV (A/T Blunt, 1), NruI (G/C Blunt, 2), BstNI (5′ SBO, 3), Hpy188I (3′SBO, 4), NdeI (2 BO, 5) and BamHI (4 BO, 6), generating DNA fragments with ligatable ends. 0.5 ng of the cut DNA was ligated in T4 ligase reaction buffer (50 mM Tris-HCl pH 7.5 @ 25°C, 1 mM ATP and 10 mM MgCl2) or NEBNext® Quick Ligation reaction buffer (66 mM Tris pH 7.6 @ 25°C, 10 mM MgCl2, 1 mM DTT, 1 mM ATP, 6% Polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000)) and 7 μM of the indicated DNA ligase for 1 hour at 25°C. Ligation assays performed with PBCV1-Nterm-Sso7d (A), PBCV1-Cterm-Sso7d terminus (B), PBCV1-Nterm-ZnF (C), PBCV1-Nterm-T4NTD (D). (E) Gel of restriction enzyme digested λ DNA samples as well as a schematic depiction of each substrate. The DNA fragments were visualized using ethidium bromide stain.
Fig 5
Fig 5. Effect of DBD on blunt/cohesive end ligation.
Bar graphs depict the fraction of either ligated DNA (product, blue) or abortive adenylylation (App, red) produced in a 20-minute sealing reaction with the indicated DNA substrate. Reactions included 1 μM of the DNA ligase, 100 nM of the substrate and reaction conditions consisting of either T4 DNA ligase reaction buffer (50 mM Tris-HCl pH 7.5 @ 25°C, 1 mM ATP and 10 mM MgCl2) or NEBNext® Quick Ligation reaction buffer (66 mM Tris pH 7.6 @ 25°C, 10 mM MgCl2, 1 mM DTT, 1 mM ATP, 6% Polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000)). Ligation assays performed with PBCV1-Nterm-Sso7d (A), PBCV1-Cterm-Sso7d terminus (B), PBCV1-Nterm-ZnF (C), PBCV1-Nterm-T4NTD (D). Experiments were performed in triplicate; the plotted value is the average and the error bars represent the standard deviation across replicates.

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Grant support

This project was funded internally by New England Biolabs, Inc. All authors were employees of New England Biolabs at the time the work was performed. Robert J. Bauer, Alexander Zhelkovsky, Katharina Bilotti, Thomas C. Evans, Jr., Larry A. McReynolds and Gregory J. S. Lohman are employees of New England Biolabs, a manufacturer and vendor of molecular biology reagents including DNA ligases. New England Biolabs funded the work and paid the salaries of all authors. Members of New England Biolabs not on the author list had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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