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Prokaryotic Argonautes (pAgos) use small nucleic acids as specificity guides to cleave single-stranded DNA at complementary sequences. DNA targeting function of pAgos creates attractive opportunities for DNA manipulations that require programmable DNA cleavage. Currently, the use of mesophilic pAgos as programmable endonucleases is hampered by their limited action on double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). We demonstrate here that efficient cleavage of linear dsDNA by mesophilic Argonaute CbAgo from Clostridium butyricum can be activated in vitro via the DNA strand unwinding activity of nuclease deficient mutant of RecBC DNA helicase from Escherichia coli (referred to as RecBexo-C). Properties of CbAgo and characteristics of simultaneous cleavage of DNA strands in concurrence with DNA strand unwinding by RecBexo-C were thoroughly explored using 0.03-25 kb dsDNAs. When combined with RecBexo-C, CbAgo could cleave targets located 11-12.5 kb from the ends of linear dsDNA at 37°C. Our study demonstrates that CbAgo with RecBexo-C can be programmed to generate DNA fragments with custom-designed single-stranded overhangs suitable for ligation with compatible DNA fragments. The combination of CbAgo and RecBexo-C represents the most efficient mesophilic DNA-guided DNA-cleaving programmable endonuclease for in vitro use in diagnostic and synthetic biology methods that require sequence-specific nicking/cleavage of linear dsDNA at any desired location. © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


Rita Vaiskunaite, Jogirdas Vainauskas, Janna J L Morris, Vladimir Potapov, Jurate Bitinaite. Programmable cleavage of linear double-stranded DNA by combined action of Argonaute CbAgo from Clostridium butyricum and nuclease deficient RecBC helicase from E. coli. Nucleic acids research. 2022 May 06;50(8):4616-4629

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PMID: 35420131

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