Scientific reports

Use of double-stranded DNA mini-circles to characterize the covalent topoisomerase-DNA complex.

PMID 26300432


The enzymatic DNA relaxation requires the DNA to be transiently nicked and rejoined, the covalent topoisomerase-DNA complex being a key intermediate of the nicking-joining reaction. Practically, this reaction is most often characterized by oligonucleotides. However, the incision-religation of an oligonucleotide does not fully recapitulate the incision-religation occuring during relaxation and the preferred substrate for such reaction characterization is supercoiled DNA. We therefore developed a method that used radiolabeled supercoiled DNA mini-circles to characterize the covalent enzyme-DNA complex formed during a relaxation reaction. Resolution of the relaxation products under different conditions permitted to quantify the proportion of covalent complex formed during the relaxation catalyzed by two topoisomerase models, the Escherichia coli topoisomerase I and the calf thymus topoisomerase I. As expected, the covalent complex formed with the calf thymus topoisomerase I was significantly enriched by camptothecin, a widely-used inhibitor of this topoisomerase, and a salt jump permitted the multiple topoisomerases trapped per mini-circle to complete the reaction cycle. The identified positions of the camptothecin-induced incision sites were shown to be independent of the linking number and the substrate circular nature Overall, our results demonstrate that supercoiled mini-circles constitute a powerful and polyvalent substrate to characterize the mechanism of action of novel topoisomerases and inhibitors, including the incision-religation reaction.