Interactions of the DNA polymerase and gene 4 protein of bacteriophage T7. Protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions involved in RNA-primed DNA synthesis

J Biol Chem. 1986 Nov 15;261(32):15208-16.


Three proteins catalyze RNA-primed DNA synthesis on the lagging strand side of the replication fork of bacteriophage T7. Oligoribonucleotides are synthesized by T7 gene 4 protein, which also provides helicase activity. DNA synthesis is catalyzed by gene 5 protein of the phage, and processivity of DNA synthesis is conferred by Escherichia coli thioredoxin, a protein that is tightly associated with gene 5 protein. T7 DNA polymerase and gene 4 protein associate to form a complex that can be isolated by filtration through a molecular sieve. The complex is stable in 50 mM NaCl but is dissociated by 100 mM NaCl, a salt concentration that does not inhibit RNA-primed DNA synthesis. T7 DNA polymerase forms a stable complex with single-stranded M13 DNA at 50 mM NaCl as measured by gel filtration, and this complex requires 200 mM NaCl for dissociation, a salt concentration that inhibits RNA-primed DNA synthesis. Gene 4 protein alone does not bind to single-stranded DNA. In the presence of MgCl2 and dTTP or beta, gamma-methylene dTTP, a gene 4 protein-M13 DNA complex that is stable at 200 mM NaCl is formed. The affinity of DNA polymerase for both gene 4 protein and single-stranded DNA leads to the formation of a gene 4 protein-DNA polymerase-M13 DNA complex even in the absence of nucleoside triphosphates. However, the binding of each protein to DNA plays an important role in mediating the interaction of the proteins with each other. High concentrations of single-stranded DNA inhibit RNA-primed DNA synthesis by diluting the amount of proteins bound to each template and reducing the frequency of protein-protein interactions. Preincubation of gene 4 protein, DNA polymerase, and M13 DNA in the presence of dTTP forms protein-DNA complexes that most efficiently catalyze RNA-primed DNA synthesis in the presence of excess single-stranded competitor DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • T-Phages / genetics*
  • T-Phages / metabolism
  • Thioredoxins / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • Thioredoxins
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase