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Effects of base mismatches on joining of short oligodeoxynucleotides by DNA ligases.

By C E Pritchard and E M Southern


The requirement for Watson-Crick base pairing surrounding a nick in duplex DNA to be sealed by DNA ligase is the basis for oligonucleotide ligation assays that distinguish single base mutations in DNA targets. Experiments in a model system demonstrate that the minimum length of oligonucleotide that can be joined differs for different ligases. Thermus thermophilus (Tth) DNA ligase is unable to join any oligonucleotide of length six or less, while T4 DNA ligase and T7 DNA ligase are both able to join hexamers. The rate of oligonucleotide ligation by Tth DNA ligase increases between heptamer and nonamer. Mismatches which cause the duplex to be shortened by fraying, at the end distal to the join, slow the ligation reaction. In the case of Tth DNA ligase, mismatches at the seventh and eighth position 5'to the nick completely inhibit the ligation of octamers. The results are relevant to mechanisms of ligation

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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