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Design, synthesis and characterization of sequence-specific DNA-cleaving metalloproteins


Oakley, Martha G. (1994) Design, synthesis and characterization of sequence-specific DNA-cleaving metalloproteins. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/35m1-1m12.


This thesis describes research pursued in two areas, both involving the design and synthesis of sequence specific DNA-cleaving proteins. The first involves the use of sequence-specific DNA-cleaving metalloproteins to probe the structure of a protein-DNA complex, and the second seeks to develop cleaving moieties capable of DNA cleavage through the generation of a non-diffusible oxidant under physiological conditions.

Chapter One provides a brief review of the literature concerning sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins. Chapter Two summarizes the results of affinity cleaving experiments using leucine zipper-basic region (bZip) DNA-binding proteins. Specifically, the NH_2-terminal locations of a dimer containing the DNA binding domain of the yeast transcriptional activator GCN4 were mapped on the binding sites 5'-CTGACTAAT-3' and 5'ATGACTCTT- 3' using affinity cleaving. Analysis of the DNA cleavage patterns from Fe•EDTA-GCN4(222-281) and (226-281) dimers reveals that the NH_2-termini are in the major groove nine to ten base pairs apart and symmetrically displaced four to five base pairs from the central C of the recognition site. These data are consistent with structural models put forward for this class of DNA binding proteins. The results of these experiments are evaluated in light of the recently published crystal structure for the GCN4-DNA complex. Preliminary investigations of affinity cleaving proteins based on the DNA-binding domains of the bZip proteins Jun and Fos are also described.

Chapter Three describes experiments demonstrating the simultaneous binding of GCN4(226-281) and 1-Methylimidazole-2-carboxamide-netropsin (2-ImN), a designed synthetic peptide which binds in the minor groove of DNA at 5'-TGACT-3' sites as an antiparallel, side-by-side dimer. Through the use of Fe•EDTA-GCN4(226-281) as a sequence-specific footprinting agent, it is shown that the dimeric protein GCN4(226-281) and the dimeric peptide 2- ImN can simultaneously occupy their common binding site in the major and minor grooves of DNA, respectively. The association constants for 2-ImN in the presence and in the absence of Fe•EDTA-GCN4(226-281) are found to be similar, suggesting that the binding of the two dimers is not cooperative.

Chapter Four describes the synthesis and characterization of PBA-β-OH-His- Hin(139-190), a hybrid protein containing the DNA-binding domain of Hin recombinase and the putative iron-binding and oxygen-activating domain of the antitumor antibiotic bleomycin. This 54-residue protein, comprising residues 139-190 of Hin recombinase with the dipeptide pyrimidoblamic acid-β-hydroxy-L-histidine (PBA-β-OH-His) at the NH2 terminus, was synthesized by solid phase methods. PBA-β-OH-His-Hin(139- 190) binds specifically to DNA at four distinct Hin binding sites with affinities comparable to those of the unmodified Hin(139-190). In the presence of dithiothreitol (DTT), Fe•PB-β-OH-His-Hin(139-190) cleaves DNA with specificity remarkably similar to that of Fe•EDTA-Hin(139-190), although with lower efficiency. Analysis of the cleavage pattern suggests that DNA cleavage is mediated through a diffusible species, in contrast with cleavage by bleomycin, which occurs through a non-diffusible oxidant.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Dervan, Peter B.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:8 November 1993
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05132013-153337171
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7704
Deposited On:13 May 2013 23:13
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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