Characterization of the adenosinetriphosphatase activity of the Escherichia coli recBCD enzyme: Relationship of ATP hydrolysis to the unwinding of duplex DNA

Linda J. Roman, Stephen C. Kowalczykowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


We find that the rate of dsDNA-dependent ATPase activity is biphasic, with a fast component which represents the unwinding of the dsDNA and a slow component which results from the ssDNA-dependent ATPase activity of recBCD enzyme. Comparison of the ATPase and helicase activities permits evaluation of the efficiency of ATP hydrolysis during unwinding. This efficiency can be calculated from the maximum rates of ATPase and helicase activities and is found to range between 2.0 and 3.0 ATP molecules hydrolyzed per base pair of DNA unwound. The number of ATP molecules hydrolyzed per base pair unwound is not altered by temperature but does increase at low concentrations of DNA and high concentrations of sodium chloride and magnesium acetate. The apparent Km values for the DNA and ATP substrates of recBCD enzyme dsDNA-dependent ATPase activity at 25°C were determined to be 0.13 nM DNA molecules and 85 μM ATP, respectively. The observed kcat value is approximately 45 μM ATP s-1 (μM recBCD enzyme)-1. If this rate is corrected for the measured stoichiometry of recBCD enzyme binding to dsDNA, the kcat for ATPase activity corresponds to an ATP hydrolysis rate of approximately 740 ATP molecules s-1 (functional recBCD complex)-1 at 25°C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2873-2881
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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