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The RecA intein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis promotes cleavage of ectopic DNA sites. Implications for the dispersal of inteins in natural populations

Authors
Publisher
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Biochemistry
Disciplines
  • Mathematics

Abstract

The RecA intein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a novel double-stranded DNA endonuclease, requires both Mn(2+) and ATP for efficient cleavage of the inteinless recA allele. In this study, we show that Mg(2+) alone was sufficient to stimulate PI-MtuI to cleave double-stranded DNA at ectopic sites. In the absence of Mg(2+), PI-MtuI formed complexes with topologically different forms of DNA containing ectopic recognition sequences with equal affinity but failed to cleave DNA. We observed that PI-MtuI was able to inflict double-strand breaks robustly within the ectopic recognition sequence to generate either a blunt end or 1-2-nucleotide 3'-hydroxyl overhangs. Mutational analyses of the presumptive metal ion-binding ligands (Asp(122), Asp(222), and Glu(220)) together with immunoprecipitation assays provided compelling evidence to link both the Mg(2+)- and Mn(2+) and ATP-dependent endonuclease activities to PI-MtuI. The kinetic mechanism of PI-MtuI promoted cleavage of ectopic DNA sites proceeded through a sequential mechanism with transient accumulation of nicked circular duplex DNA as an intermediate. Together, these data suggest that PI-MtuI, like group II introns, might mediate ectopic DNA transposition and hence its lateral transfer in natural populations.

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