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Published August 15, 1979 | public
Journal Article

Staphylococcal nuclease makes a single non-random cut in the simian virus 40 viral minichromosome


When compact simian virus 40 (SV40) minichromosomes are treated with staphylococcal nuclease at 0 °C under limit-digest conditions, about one-third of the minichromosomes remain resistant to nuclease, a third of them are nicked, while the remaining third suffer one and only one double-stranded cut. Results show that each cleaved minichromosome is cut only once and afterwards becomes resistant to further fragmentation. This is in marked contrast to the action of staphylococcal nuclease at 37 °C, which leads to a rapid fragmentation of all minichromosomes to oligo- and mononucleosomes. The SV40 linear DNA III produced by low-temperature nuclease digestion of minichromosomes was redigested with single-cut restriction endonucleases. By this mapping procedure it was determined that the location of the staphylococcal nuclease cut is neither unique nor random; it occurs at a number of discrete sites on the DNA, half of all cuts being concentrated at the origin of replication and nearby in the "late" portion of the SV40 genome. Control experiments have shown that when staphylococcal nuclease digests naked SV40 DNA at 0 °C it does not "hesitate" after the first cut. Although initial cuts in the purified DNA are non-random in location, their distribution is quite different from that generated by a low-temperature nuclease digestion of compact SV40 minichromosomes. Possible interpretations of these results are discussed in view of the recent finding that a specific region of the SV40 genome is uniquely exposed in the minichromosome (Varshavsky et al., 1978, 1979; Scott & Wigmore, 1978).

Additional Information

© 1979 Academic Press. (Received 13 March 1979) These studies were supported in part by grant number 1 R01 GM26086-01 from the National Institutes of Health (to A.V.), and by grant number CA14051 from the National Cancer Institute to Dr S. E. Luria. One author (O.S.) is supported by a National Science Foundation predoctoral fellowship.

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