We have examined the effects of the structurally related nucleoside triphosphates, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), purine riboside triphosphate (PTP), inosine triphosphate (ITP), and guanosine triphosphate (GTP), on the recA protein-promoted DNA renaturation reaction (ØX DNA). In the absence of nucleotide cofactor, the recA protein first converts the complementary single strands into unit-length duplex DNA and other relatively small paired DNA species; these initial products are then slowly converted into more complex multipaired network DNA products. ATP and PTP stimulate the conversion of initial product DNA into network DNA, whereas ITP and GTP completely suppress network DNA formation. The formation of network DNA is also inhibited by all four of the corresponding nucleoside diphosphates, ADP, PDP, IDP, and GDP. Those nucleotides which stimulate the formation of network DNA are found to enhance the formation of large recA-ssDNA aggregates, whereas those which inhibit network DNA formation cause the dissociation of these nucleoprotein aggregates. These results not only implicate the nucleoprotein aggregates as intermediates in the formation of network DNA, but also establish the functional equivalency of ITP and GTP with the nucleoside diphosphates. Additional experiments indicate that the net effect of ITP and GTP on the DNA renaturation reaction is dominated by the corresponding nucleoside diphosphates, IDP and GDP, that are generated by the NTP hydrolysis activity of the recA protein.
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