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Complexes formed between the bacteriophage phi29 DNA polymerase (DNAP) and DNA fluctuate between the pre-translocation and post-translocation states on the millisecond time scale. These fluctuations can be directly observed with single-nucleotide precision in real-time ionic current traces when individual complexes are captured atop the α-hemolysin nanopore in an applied electric field. We recently quantified the equilibrium across the translocation step as a function of applied force (voltage), active-site proximal DNA sequences, and the binding of complementary dNTP. To gain insight into the mechanism of this step in the DNAP catalytic cycle, in this study, we have examined the stochastic dynamics of the translocation step. The survival probability of complexes in each of the two states decayed at a single exponential rate, indicating that the observed fluctuations are between two discrete states. We used a robust mathematical formulation based on the autocorrelation function to extract the forward and reverse rates of the transitions between the pre-translocation state and the post-translocation state from ionic current traces of captured phi29 DNAP-DNA binary complexes. We evaluated each transition rate as a function of applied voltage to examine the energy landscape of the phi29 DNAP translocation step. The analysis reveals that active-site proximal DNA sequences influence the depth of the pre-translocation and post-translocation state energy wells and affect the location of the transition state along the direction of the translocation.


Kate R Lieberman, Joseph M Dahl, Ai H Mai, Mark Akeson, Hongyun Wang. Dynamics of the translocation step measured in individual DNA polymerase complexes. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2012 Nov 14;134(45):18816-23

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PMID: 23101437

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