Effects of exposure of DNA to methyl mercury on its activity as a template-primer for DNA polymerases

Gerald D. Frenkel, Heather Wilson, Janet Ducote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

A previous publication [Frenkel, Cain, and Chao, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 127, 849-856 (1985)] described the observation that double-stranded DNA which was briefly exposed to methyl mercury (MeHg) and purified to remove free methyl mercury was transcribed at a higher rate by RNA polymerase II from wheat germ. The specificity of this phenomenon has now been investigated by examining the activity of this MeHg-exposed DNA as a template-primer for DNA polymerases. DNA synthesis by the bacteriophage T4-induced DNA polymerase was higher with the MeHg-exposed DNA as a template-primer than with control DNA. In contrast, the rate of DNA synthesis by E. coli DNA polymerase I was lower with the MeHg-exposed DNA as template-primer. With both enzymes (as well as with RNA polymerase II), after denaturation of the MeHg-exposed and control DNAs the differences in template activity were either eliminated or markedly reduced. The enzymes are thus able to detect a MeHg-induced alteration in DNA. In contrast, circular dichroism, a physical method that is sensitive to conformational changes in DNA, did not detect any difference between the MeHg-exposed and control DNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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