Site-search process for synaptic protein-dna complexes

Sridhar Vemulapalli, Mohtadin Hashemi, Yuri L. Lyubchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The assembly of synaptic protein-DNA complexes by specialized proteins is critical for bringing together two distant sites within a DNA molecule or bridging two DNA molecules. The assembly of such synaptosomes is needed in numerous genetic processes requiring the interactions of two or more sites. The molecular mechanisms by which the protein brings the sites together, enabling the assembly of synaptosomes, remain unknown. Such proteins can utilize sliding, jumping, and segmental transfer pathways proposed for the single-site search process, but none of these pathways explains how the synaptosome assembles. Here we used restriction enzyme SfiI, that requires the assembly of synaptosome for DNA cleavage, as our experimental system and applied time-lapse, high-speed AFM (HS-AFM) to directly visualize the site search process accomplished by the SfiI enzyme. For the single-site SfiI-DNA complexes, we were able to directly visualize such pathways as sliding, jumping, and segmental site transfer. However, within the synaptic looped complexes, we visualized the threading and site-bound segment transfer as the synaptosome-specific search pathways for SfiI. In addition, we visualised sliding and jumping pathways for the loop dissociated complexes. Based on our data, we propose the site-search model for synaptic protein-DNA systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number212
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • High-speed AFM
  • SFiI
  • Site-bound segment transfer
  • Site-search
  • Synaptic complexes
  • Threading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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