The family A DNA polymerases from thermophilic bacteria are useful for PCR. The DNA polymerase from Thermus aquaticus (Taq polymerase) was the original enzyme used when practical PCR was developed, and it has remained the standard enzyme for PCR to date. Knowledge gained from structure-function relationship studies of Taq polymerase is applicable to create PCR enzymes with enhanced performance. We collected the deduced amino acid sequences of the regions from motif A to motif C in the family A DNA polymerases from metagenomic sequence data, obtained by sequencing DNAs from microorganisms isolated from various hot spring areas in Japan. The corresponding regions of the polA gene for Taq polymerase were substituted with the metagenomic DNA gene fragments, and various chimeric DNA polymerases were prepared. Based on the properties of these chimeric enzymes and their sequences, we found an insertion sequence that affects the primer extension ability of the family A DNA polymerases. The insertion sequence is located in the finger subdomain, and it may enhance the affinity of the enzyme to DNA. Mutant Taq polymerases with the corresponding 9 amino acid insertion displayed enhanced PCR performance.
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