T4 DNA-delay proteins, required for specific DNA replication, form a complex that has ATP-dependent DNA topoisomerase activity.
Under some conditions, T4 DNA replication requires the products of the DNA-delay genes, genes 39, 52, 58, and 60. By using an in vitro complementation assay that stimulates DNA replication in T4 39(-)-infected cell extracts, T4 gene 39 protein has been purified. The purified fraction also contains complementing activities for T4 genes 52 and 60. On sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel analysis the purified preparation exhibits three protein components: a 51,000-dalton protein corresponding to the product of gene 52, a 64,000-dalton protein corresponding to the product of gene 39, and a 110,000-dalton protein. This purified fraction shows a DNA topoisomerase activity that untwists superhelical DNA in an ATP- and Mg2+-dependent reaction. The analogs adenylyl imidodiphosphate and adenyl [beta, gamma-methylene]diphosphonate cannot be used to replace ATP. The topoisomerase activity is not sensitive to the antibiotics oxolinic acid and novobiocin, known antagonists of Escherichia coli DNA gyrase. The possible relationship among the three polypeptides and their biological activities is discussed.