Studies on the mechanism of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I large fragment. Effect of template sequence and substrate variation on termination of synthesis

J Biol Chem. 1988 Oct 15;263(29):15094-103.


Termination of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I large fragment after processive synthesis on natural and other well-defined template.primer systems has been examined. We found that after any given deoxynucleoside monophosphate incorporation termination occurs in a nonrandom manner with phi X174 DNA as template: Termination is much more likely at some nucleotide residues along the template than at others. Analysis of these stronger termination sites indicates that the template base:incoming nucleotide combination influences termination. Introduction of a double-stranded region along the phi X174 template induces termination, and reducing dNTP concentrations or substituting 2'-deoxynucleoside 5'-O-(1-thio)triphosphate substrates also increases termination. Observations with the phi X174 DNA template system were extended with a defined template containing 1 inosine residue in an otherwise d(T)n homopolymer. Termination at the I residue is modulated by dCTP and decreases as dCTP concentration increases. A similar relationship is seen with the dCTP (1-thio) derivative, but termination is higher at given concentrations of this derivative than with dCTP. Pyrophosphate decreases general processivity in this system, but does not counteract the effect of increasing dCTP. Hill plot analysis of the dCTP effect in the inosine-containing template system gave a linear plot with Hill coefficient of 0.34, suggesting that dCTP influences termination at several steps in the polymerase reaction scheme. Substituting a methylated template base for I also increased termination, producing very strong blocks to processive synthesis. The results are consistent with a model in which termination occurs with several enzyme forms that are in equilibrium in an ordered catalytic mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophage phi X 174 / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Polymerase I / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Templates, Genetic


  • DNA, Viral
  • Peptide Fragments
  • DNA Polymerase I