Easily unwound DNA sequences and hairpin structures in the Epstein-Barr virus origin of plasmid replication.J Virol. 1993 May; 67(5):2707-15.JV
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) origin of plasmid replication (oriP) includes two known cis-acting components, the dyad symmetry region and the family of repeats. We used P1 nuclease, a single-strand-specific endonuclease, to probe EBV oriP for DNA sequences that are intrinsically easy to unwind on a negatively supercoiled plasmid. Selective nuclease hypersensitivity was detected in the family of repeats on an oriP-containing plasmid and in the dyad symmetry region on a plasmid that lacks the family of repeats, indicating that the DNA in both cis-acting components is intrinsically easy to unwind. The hierarchy of nuclease hypersensitivity indicates that the family of repeats is more easily unwound than the dyad symmetry region, consistent with the hierarchy of helical stability predicted by computer analysis of the DNA sequence. A specific subset of the family of repeats is nuclease hypersensitive, and the DNA structure deduced from nucleotide-level analysis of the P1 nuclease nicks is a cruciform near a single-stranded bubble. The dyad symmetry region unwinds to form a broad single-stranded bubble containing hairpins in the 65-bp dyad sequence. We propose that the intrinsic ease of unwinding the dyad symmetry region, the actual origin of DNA replication, is an important component in the mechanism of initiation.