We have developed two experimental methods for observing Escherichia coli RecA-DNA filament under a fluorescence microscope. First, RecA-DNA filaments were visualized by immunofluorescence staining with anti-RecA monoclonal antibody. Although the detailed filament structures below submicron scale were unable to be measured accurately due to optical resolution limit, this method has an advantage to analyse a large number of RecA-DNA filaments in a single experiment. Thus, it provides a reliable statistical distribution of the filament morphology. Moreover, not only RecA filament, but also naked DNA region was visualized separately in combination with immunofluorescence staining using anti-DNA monoclonal antibody. Second, by using cysteine derivative RecA protein, RecA-DNA filament was directly labelled by fluorescent reagent, and was able to observe directly under a fluorescence microscope with its enzymatic activity maintained. We showed that the RecA-DNA filament disassembled in the direction from 5′ to 3′ of ssDNA as dATP hydrolysis proceeded.
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