Analytical chemistry

Direct single-molecule observations of local denaturation of a DNA double helix under a negative supercoil state.

PMID 25697222


Effects of a negative supercoil on the local denaturation of the DNA double helix were studied at the single-molecule level. The local denaturation in λDNA and λDNA containing the SV40 origin of DNA replication (SV40ori-λDNA) was directly observed by staining single-stranded DNA regions with a fusion protein comprising the ssDNA binding domain of a 70-kDa subunit of replication protein A and an enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (RPA-YFP) followed by staining the double-stranded DNA regions with YOYO-1. The local denaturation of λDNA and SV40ori-λDNA under a negative supercoil state was observed as single bright spots at the single-stranded regions. When negative supercoil densities were gradually increased to 0, -0.045, and -0.095 for λDNA and 0, -0.047, and -0.1 for SV40ori-λDNA, single bright spots at the single-stranded regions were frequently induced under higher negative supercoil densities of -0.095 for λDNA and -0.1 for SV40ori-λDNA. However, single bright spots of the single-stranded regions were rarely observed below a negative supercoil density of -0.045 and -0.047 for λDNA and SV40ori-λDNA, respectively. The probability of occurrence of the local denaturation increased with negative superhelicity for both λDNA and SV40ori-λDNA.