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Ring-opened 7-methylguanine residues in DNA are a block to in vitro DNA synthesis

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Single-stranded M13mp18 phage DNA was methylated with dimethylsulfate (DMS), and further treated with alkali to ring-open N7-methylguanine residues and yield 2-6-diamino-4-hydroxy-5N-methylformamidopyrimidine (Fapy) residues. Nucleotide incorporation during in vitro DNA synthesis on methylated template using E. coli DNA polymerase Klenow fragment (Kf polymerase) was reduced compared to the unmethylated template. Additional treatment of the methylated template with NaOH to generate Fapy residues, further reduced in vitro DNA synthesis compared to the synthesis on methylated templates, which suggested that Fapy residues were a block to in vitro DNA synthesis. Analysis of the termination products on sequencing gels, assuming that synthesis stops one base before a blocking lesion, indicated that arrest of DNA synthesis upon direct alkylation of single-stranded DNA occurred 1 base 3' to template adenine residues in the case of Kf polymerase and 1 base 3' to adenine and cystosine residues for T4 polymerase. When the alkylated templates were treated with NaOH to produce a template which converted all the N7-methylguanine residues to Fapy residues, the blocks to DNA synthesis were still observed one base before adenine residues. In addition to the stops previously observed for the methylated templates, however, new stops occurred one base 3' to template guanine residues for synthesis using both Kf polymerase and T4 polymerase. Fapy residues, therefore, represent a potential lethal lesion which may also arrest in vivo DNA synthesis if not repaired.

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