Analysis of secondary structures in M13mp8 (+) single-stranded DNA by the pausing of DNA polymerase alpha

Eur J Biochem. 1985 Nov 4;152(3):633-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1985.tb09242.x.


The pausing of DNA replication has been used as a tool for analyzing secondary structures in a single-stranded DNA. M13mp8 (+) single-stranded DNA was replicated in vitro by the DNA polymerase alpha from calf thymus. The positions of pausing were determined from DNA sequencing gels. All experimentally observed pausing sites could be correlated with computer-predicted secondary structures of the M13 single-stranded DNA. In the computer calculations of the secondary structures, long-range base-pairing, G.T mispairs and loop-out of bases were allowed. By using six different primers, the pausing site pattern and the corresponding secondary structure map of a region comprising 1400 nucleotides of the M13 genome has been established. Our experiments indicate that the M13 DNA is highly structured. Most of the stable structures are clustered around the origin of replication. With fragments of the M13 DNA, we show that long-range base-pairing exists in the M13 single-stranded genome and we present evidence for tertiary structure interactions. Furthermore we observe structures that form newly during the course of replication. The Escherichia coli single-stranded DNA-binding protein facilitates replication through the barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Coliphages / genetics*
  • Computers
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / biosynthesis*
  • DNA, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Escherichia coli
  • Genes
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Thymus Gland / enzymology


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA, Viral
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • GGCC-specific type II deoxyribonucleases