The ssDNA-dependent NTP hydrolysis activity of the RecA protein was examined using a series of dTn oligomers ranging in size from dT10 to dT2000 as the ssDNA effector. There were three distinct manifestations of the dTn-dependent NTP hydrolysis reaction, depending on the length of the dTn effector that was used. With longer dTn oligomers, NTP hydrolysis occurred with a turnover number of 20-25 min-1 and the observed S0.5 value for the NTP was independent of the concentration of the dTn oligomer (DNA concentration-independent hydrolysis). With dTn oligomers of intermediate length, NTP hydrolysis still occurred with a turnover number of 20-25 min-1, but the observed S0.5 for the NTP decreased with increasing dTn concentration until reaching a value similar to that obtained with the longer dTn oligomers (DNA concentration-dependent hydrolysis). With shorter dTn oligomers, the NTP hydrolysis activity was effectively eliminated. Although this general progression of kinetic behavior was observed for the three structurally related NTPs (dATP, ATP, and GTP), the dTn oligomer length at which DNA concentration-independent, DNA concentration-dependent, and no NTP hydrolysis was observed depended on the NTP being considered. For example, dATP (S0.5 = 35 μM) was hydrolyzed in the presence of dT20, whereas ATP (S0.5 = 70 μM) and GTP (S0.5 = 1200 μM) required at least dT50 and dT200 for hydrolysis, respectively. These results are discussed in terms of a kinetic model in which the stability of the RecA - ssDNA - NTP complex is dependent on the intrinsic S0.5 value of the NTP being hydrolyzed.
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