Cleavage specificity of RNase HI was examined on model Okazaki fragments, to determine the likely role of this nuclease in lagging strand DNA replication. Each substrate was prepared by annealing a short RNA primer, made by transcription in vitro, to a single-stranded synthetic DNA template, and subsequently extending the primer by DNA polymerization. The calf thymus RNase HI makes a structure-specific endonucleolytic cleavage in the RNA primer, releasing it intact, and leaving a mono-ribonucleotide at the 5' terminus of the RNA-DNA junction. This specific cleavage, one nucleotide upstream of the RNA-DNA junction, is RNA primer sequence- and length- independent. Cleavage specificity is lost if the RNA primer is not extended with DNA, or if the substrate has a nick at the RNA-DNA junction. In addition, the cleavage at a single site requires Mg2+. Cleavage in the presence of Mn2+ is less specific. Neither human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase nor Escherichia coli RNases H perform such a structure- specific cleavage before an RNA-DNA junction. Our work indicates that calf RNase HI is designed to recognize Okazaki fragments. It has the specificity to remove their initiator RNA segments, except for one ribonucleotide, by a single endonucleolytic cleavage in vivo.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|State||Published - Oct 14 1994|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology