Site-specific recognition of bacteriophage T4 DNA by T4 type II DNA topoisomerase and Escherichia coli DNA gyrase

J Biol Chem. 1984 Apr 25;259(8):5339-46.


The site specificity of bacteriophage T4-induced type II DNA topoisomerase action on double-stranded DNA has been explored by studying the sites where DNA cleavages are induced by the enzyme. Oxolinic acid addition increases the frequency at which phi X174 duplex DNA is cut by the enzyme by about 100-fold, to the point where nearly every topoisomerase molecule causes a double-stranded DNA cleavage event. The effect of oxolinic acid on the enzyme is very similar to its effect on another type II DNA topoisomerase, the Escherichia coli DNA gyrase. A filter-binding method was developed that allows efficient purification of topoisomerase-cleaved DNA fragments by selecting for the covalent attachment of this DNA to the enzyme. Using this method, T4 topoisomerase recognition of mutant cytosine-containing T4 DNA was found to be relatively nonspecific, whereas quite specific recognition sites were observed on native T4 DNA, which contains glucosylated hydroxymethylcytosine residues. The increased specificity of native T4 DNA recognition seems to be due entirely to the glucose modification. In contrast, E. coli DNA gyrase shows a high level of specificity for both the mutant cytosine-containing DNA and native T4 DNA, recognizing about five strong cleavage sites on both substrates. An unexpected feature of DNA recognition by the T4 topoisomerase is that the addition of the cofactor ATP strongly stimulates the topoisomerase-induced cleavage of native T4 DNA, but has only a slight effect on cleavage of cytosine-containing T4 DNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II / metabolism*
  • DNA, Viral / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Genes
  • Genes, Viral
  • Kinetics
  • Protein Binding
  • T-Phages / enzymology*


  • DNA, Viral
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II