2021 journal article

Using Atomic Force Microscopy to Study the Real Time Dynamics of DNA Unwinding by Mitochondrial Twinkle Helicase


By: P. Kaur, H. Pan, M. Longley*, W. Copeland* & H. Wang‚ÄČ

author keywords: Atomic Force Microscope; Twinkle helicase; Mitochondria; Liquid AFM imaging; Mitochondrial replication; Single molecule imaging
Source: Web Of Science
Added: September 20, 2021

Understanding the structure and dynamics of DNA-protein interactions during DNA replication is crucial for elucidating the origins of disorders arising from its dysfunction. In this study, we employed Atomic Force Microscopy as a single-molecule imaging tool to examine the mitochondrial DNA helicase Twinkle and its interactions with DNA. We used imaging in air and time-lapse imaging in liquids to observe the DNA binding and unwinding activities of Twinkle hexamers at the single-molecule level. These procedures helped us visualize Twinkle loading onto and unloading from the DNA in the open-ring conformation. Using traditional methods, it has been shown that Twinkle is capable of unwinding dsDNA up to 20-55 bps. We found that the addition of mitochondrial single-stranded DNA binding protein (mtSSB) facilitates a 5-fold increase in the DNA unwinding rate for the Twinkle helicase. The protocols developed in this study provide new platforms to examine DNA replication and to explore the mechanism driving DNA deletion and human diseases. Graphic abstract: Mitochondrial Twinkle Helicase Dynamics.