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Direct observation of helicase–topoisomerase coupling within reverse gyrase

Xi Yang, Florence Garnier, Hélène Débat, Terence R. Strick, Marc Nadal


Reverse gyrases (RGs) are the only topoisomerases capable of generating positive supercoils in DNA. Members of the type IA family, they do so by generating a single-strand break in substrate DNA and then manipulating the two single strands to generate positive topology. Here, we use single-molecule experimentation to reveal the obligatory succession of steps that make up the catalytic cycle of RG. In the initial state, RG binds to DNA and unwinds ∼2 turns of the double helix in an ATP-independent fashion. Upon nucleotide binding, RG then rewinds ∼1 turn of DNA. Nucleotide hydrolysis and/or product release leads to an increase of 2 units of DNA writhe and resetting of the enzyme, for a net change of topology of +1 turn per cycle. Final dissociation of RG from DNA results in rewinding of the 2 turns of DNA that were initially disrupted. These results show how tight coupling of the helicase and topoisomerase activities allows for induction of positive supercoiling despite opposing torque.

Keywords : DNA topoisomerase ; helicase ; magnetic tweezers ; single molecule.

More information

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2020 May 19 ;117(20):10856-10864. doi : 10.1073/pnas.1921848117