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Quantitative disclosure of DNA knot chirality by high-resolution 2D-gel electrophoresis

AuthorsValdés, Antonio ; Martínez-García, Belén ; Segura, Joana ; Dyson, Sílvia ; Díaz-Ingelmo, Ofelia ; Roca, Joaquim
KeywordsNucleic acid structure
DNA-Mediated Cell Transformation and Nucleic Acids Transfer
Issue Date18-Mar-2019
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationNucleic Acids Research 47(5): 1-8 (2019)
AbstractThe characterization of knots formed in duplex DNA has proved useful to infer biophysical properties and the spatial trajectory of DNA, both in free solution and across its macromolecular interactions. Since knotting, like supercoiling, makes DNA molecules more compact, DNA knot probability and knot complexity can be assessed by the electrophoretic velocity of nicked DNA circles. However, the chirality of the DNA knots has to be determined by visualizing the sign of their DNA crossings by means of electron microscopy. This procedure, which requires purifying the knotted DNA molecules and coating them with protein, is semi-quantitative and it is impracticable in biological samples that contain little amount of knotted DNA forms. Here, we took advantage of an earlier observation that the two chiral forms of a trefoil knot acquire slightly different electrophoretic velocity when the DNA is supercoiled. We introduced a second gel dimension to reveal these chiral forms in DNA mixtures that are largely unknotted. The result is a high-resolution 2D-gel electrophoresis procedure that quantitatively discerns the fractions of positive- and negative-noded trefoil knots formed in vitro and in vivo systems. This development in DNA knot analysis may uncover valuable information toward disclosing the architecture of DNA ensembles.
Description© The Author(s) 2019.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz015
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