We have developed a procedure which permits the mapping of DNA gyrase cleavage sites in vivo. Addition of oxolinic acid, an inhibitor of DNA gyrase, to growing cells of Escherichia coli containing the plasmid pBR322 resulted in double-strand cleavage of DNA, and allowed the isolation of significant quantities of linearized plasmid DNA after lysis of treated cells with sodium dodecyl sulfate. Initially the linear product was purified from agarose gels, cleaved by restriction endonucleases, and then subjected to Southern hybridization analysis using defined DNA probes. A number of distinct cleavage sites, used with varying degrees of efficiency, were identified within pBR322 using this simple procedure. To achieve greater resolution and to improve sensitivity, we then employed an electroblotting procedure to transfer DNA fragments from acrylamide gels onto nylon membranes. This alternative method does not require the isolation of the linearized product before performing the mapping procedure. The improved resolution obtained from acrylamide gels and the superior binding properties of the nylon membranes have allowed us to accurately map 74 distinct oxolinic acid-induced cleavage sites within pBR322. The significance of these findings in light of previously reported studies in vitro, as well as the possible role of such sites during illegitimate recombination, are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Drs A. L. Sonensheina nd M. D. Challberg, and E. Buchert and J. F. Miller for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.