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Published September 11, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Pif1 Helicase Lengthens Some Okazaki Fragment Flaps Necessitating Dna2 Nuclease/Helicase Action in the Two-nuclease Processing Pathway


We have developed a system to reconstitute all of the proposed steps of Okazaki fragment processing using purified yeast proteins and model substrates. DNA polymerase δ was shown to extend an upstream fragment to displace a downstream fragment into a flap. In most cases, the flap was removed by flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1), in a reaction required to remove initiator RNA in vivo. The nick left after flap removal could be sealed by DNA ligase I to complete fragment joining. An alternative pathway involving FEN1 and the nuclease/helicase Dna2 has been proposed for flaps that become long enough to bind replication protein A (RPA). RPA binding can inhibit FEN1, but Dna2 can shorten RPA-bound flaps so that RPA dissociates. Recent reconstitution results indicated that Pif1 helicase, a known component of fragment processing, accelerated flap displacement, allowing the inhibitory action of RPA. In results presented here, Pif1 promoted DNA polymerase δ to displace strands that achieve a length to bind RPA, but also to be Dna2 substrates. Significantly, RPA binding to long flaps inhibited the formation of the final ligation products in the reconstituted system without Dna2. However, Dna2 reversed that inhibition to restore efficient ligation. These results suggest that the two-nuclease pathway is employed in cells to process long flap intermediates promoted by Pif1.

Additional Information

© 2009 by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Received May 20, 2009. Revision received June 25, 2009. We thank the members of the Bambara laboratory for helpful discussions and suggestions. We thank Dr. Marc Wold for providing us with purified RPA. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant GM024441 (to R. A. B.), with additional support from Grants GM087666 (to J. L. C.), and GM32431 (to P. M. B.).

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August 19, 2023
October 19, 2023