Laser-Induced Protein-DNA Cross-Links via Psoralen Furanside Monoadducts

Srinivas S. Sastry, H. Peter Spielmann, Quan Scott Hoang, John E. Hearst, A. Meleah Phillips, Aziz Sancar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We have developed a technique for cross-linking DNA binding proteins to DNA using psoralen furanside monoadducts as photoaffinity probes and a continuous-wave argon ion laser (366 nm) as a light source. Several DNA binding proteins (T7 RNA polymerase, UvrB, single-stranded DNA binding protein of Escherichia coli, T4 gp32, and RecA of E. coli) are shown to cross-link to single-stranded psoralen monoadducted DNA oligos differing in length and sequence. Increasing fluences of laser light on a fixed ratio of DNA/protein resulted in an increase in the yield of cross-links. Titration experiments were carried out to measure the apparent cross-linking constant (KappXL) for T7 RNA polymerase or UvrB to a monoadducted 24 mer DNA. The estimated values for the apparent cross-linking constant were in the range of (2–3) × 10−7 M for both T7 RNA polymerase and UvrB. The efficiency of cross-linking was investigated as a function of the length of adducted DNA and also as a fraction of the total noncovalent binding of proteins of psoralenated DNAs. The results showed that in the cases of T7 RNA polymerase and UvrB cross-linking was more efficient with short oligos (8 and 19 mers) as compared to longer oligos (50 mer). A tryptic peptide of T7 RNA polymerase that was conjugated to a psoralen furanside monoadducted 12 mer DNA was isolated by high-performance liquid chromatography. Mass spectrometry and amino acid composition of this peptide revealed that it originated from a region between residues 558 and 608 of the primary structure of T7 RNA polymerase. Two other peptides cross-linked to oligos were also purified. Repeated attempts to perform Edman sequencing of the peptide-DNA conjugates failed. Overall evidence indicates that photo-cross-linking of furanside monoadducts occurred at multiple sites on the proteins. We have shown that T7 RNA polymerase molecules in a ternary complex arrested at the furanside monoadduct can be cross-linked to the DNA templates with laser light. Evidence suggests that the arrested polymerase molecules existed in multiple conformations on the DNA template. This method of transcriptional cross-linking offers a new method for preparing highly stable elongation complexes for further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5526-5538
Number of pages13
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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