We report studies testing the importance of Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding, base-pair geometry, and steric effects during DNA replication in living bacterial cells. Nonpolar DNA base shape mimics of thymine and adenine (abbreviated F and Q, respectively) were introduced into Escherichia coli by insertion into a phage genome followed by transfection of the vector into bacteria. Genetic assays showed that these two base mimics were bypassed with moderate to high efficiency in the cells and with very high efficiency under damage-response (SOS induction) conditions. Under both sets of conditions, the T-shape mimic (F) encoded genetic information in the bacteria as if it were thymine, directing incorporation of adenine opposite it with high fidelity. Similarly, the A mimic (Q) directed incorporation of thymine opposite itself with high fidelity. The data establish that Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding is not necessary for high-fidelity replication of a base pair in vivo. The results suggest that recognition of DNA base shape alone serves as the most powerful determinant of fidelity during transfer of genetic information in a living organism.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Apr 15 2003|
- Replication bypass
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