Mnemonic aspects of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I. Interaction with one template influences the next interaction with another template

J Mol Biol. 1986 Jun 5;189(3):435-48. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(86)90315-3.


When Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (Pol I) replicates a homopolymer, the excision/polymerization (exo/pol) ratio varies with enzyme and initiator concentration. The study of this effect in the case of poly(dA).oligo(dT) replication led us to propose a mnemonic model for Pol I, in which the 3' to 5' excision activity warms up when the enzyme is actively polymerizing, and cools down when it dissociates from the template. The model predicts that the exo/pol ratio must increase with processivity length and initiator concentration and decrease with enzyme concentration. It predicts also that contact of the enzyme with one template alters its excision efficiency towards another template. The exo/pol ratio and processivities of Pol I and its Klenow fragment were studied on four templates: poly(dA).(dT)10, poly(dT).(dA)10, poly(dC).(dG)10 and poly(dI).(dC)10. We show that the Klenow fragment is usually much less processive than Pol I and when this is the case it has a much lower exo/pol ratio. At equal processivity, the exo/pol ratios are nearly equal. Furthermore, many factors that influence processivity length (e.g. manganese versus magnesium, inorganic pyrophosphate, ionic strength) influence the exo/pol ratio in the same direction. The study of deaminated poly(dC) replication, where we followed incorporation and excision of both G and A residues, allowed us to assign the origin of the dNMP variations to changes in the 3' to 5' proof-reading activity of Pol I. Similarly, the lower dNMP turnover of the Klenow fragment observed with deaminated poly(dC) was specifically assigned to a decreased 3' to 5' exonuclease activity. The exo/pol ratio generally increased with initiator and decreased with enzyme concentration, in agreement with the model, except for poly(dI).oligo(dC), where it decreased with initiator concentration. However, by terminating chain elongation with dideoxy CTP, we showed directly that, even in this system, excision is relatively inefficient at the beginning of synthesis. Interaction of Pol I with poly(dA).(dT) or with poly(dC).(dG) modifies its exo/pol characteristics in the replication of poly(dI).(dC) and poly(dA).(dT), respectively. The Klenow enzyme is not sensitive to such influences and this correlates with its reduced processivity on the influencing templates. Our results reveal the existence of differences between Pol I and its Klenow fragment that are more profound than has been thought previously.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Composition
  • DNA Polymerase I / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication*
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Deoxycytidine Monophosphate / metabolism
  • Deoxyguanine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Poly dA-dT / metabolism
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Thymine Nucleotides / metabolism


  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides
  • Deoxyguanine Nucleotides
  • Thymine Nucleotides
  • Deoxycytidine Monophosphate
  • Poly dA-dT
  • 2'-deoxy-5'-adenosine monophosphate
  • 2'-deoxyguanosine 5'-phosphate
  • deoxyguanosine triphosphate
  • DNA Polymerase I
  • 2'-deoxyadenosine triphosphate
  • thymidine 5'-triphosphate