Biochemical and single-molecule techniques to study accessory helicase resolution of R-loop proteins at stalled replication forks

Publication Name

Methods in Enzymology


R-loop proteins present a stable and robust blockade to the progression of a DNA replication fork during S-phase. The consequences of this block can include mutagenesis and other irreversible chromosomal catastrophes, causing genomic instability and disease. As such, further investigation into the molecular mechanisms underlying R-loop protein resolution is warranted. The critical role of non-replicative accessory helicases in R-loop protein resolution has increasingly come into light in recent years. Such helicases include the Pif1-family, monomeric helicases that have been studied in many different contexts and that have been ascribed to a multitude of separable protective functions in the cell. In this chapter, we present protocols to study R-loop protein resolution by Pif1 helicase at stalled replication forks using purified proteins, both at the biochemical and single-molecule level. Our system uses recombinant proteins expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae but could apply to practically any organism of interest due to the high interspecies homology of the proteins involved in DNA replication. The methods we outline are extensible to many systems and should be applicable to studying R-loop clearance by any Superfamily (SF) 1B helicase. These techniques will further enable mechanistic research on these critical but understudied components of the genomic maintenance program.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Institutes of Health



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