Rapid unwinding of triplet repeat hairpins by srs2 helicase of saccharomyces cerevisiae
Lahue, Robert S.
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Dhar, Alok; Lahue, Robert S. (2008). Rapid unwinding of triplet repeat hairpins by srs2 helicase of saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nucleic Acids Research 36 (10), 3366-3373
Expansions of trinucleotide repeats cause at least 15 heritable human diseases. Single-stranded triplet repeat DNA in vitro forms stable hairpins in a sequence-dependent manner that correlates with expansion risk in vivo. Hairpins are therefore considered likely intermediates during the expansion process. Unwinding of a hairpin by a DNA helicase would help protect against expansions. Yeast Srs2, but not the RecQ homolog Sgs1, blocks expansions in vivo in a manner largely dependent on its helicase function. The current study tested the idea that Srs2 would be faster at unwinding DNA substrates with an extrahelical triplet repeat hairpin embedded in a duplex context. These substrates should mimic the relevant intermediate structure thought to occur in vivo. Srs2 was faster than Sgs1 at unwinding several substrates containing triplet repeat hairpins or another structured loop. In contrast, control substrates with an unstructured loop or a WatsonCrick duplex were unwound equally well by both enzymes. Results with a fluorescently labeled, three-way junction showed that Srs2 unwinding proceeds unabated through extrahelical triplet repeats. In summary, Srs2 maintains its facile unwinding of triplet repeat hairpins embedded within duplex DNA, supporting the genetic evidence that Srs2 is a key helicase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for preventing expansions.