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Adv Biophys. 2004;38:215-32.

Molecular mechanism of VDE-initiated intein homing in yeast nuclear genome.

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  • 1Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture 277-8562, Japan.


In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, VMA1 intein encodes a homing endonuclease termed VDE which is produced by an autocatalytic protein splicing reaction. VDE introduces a DSB at its recognition sequence on intein-minus allele, resulting in the lateral transfer of VMA1 intein. In this review, we summarize a decade of in vitro study on VDE and describe our recent study on the in vivo behavior of both VDE and host proteins involved in intein mobility. Meiotic DSBs caused by VDE are repaired in the similar pathway to that working in meiotic recombination induced by Spo11p-mediated DSBs. Meiosis-specific DNA cleavage and homing is shown to be guaranteed by the two distinct mechanisms, the subcellular localization of VDE and a requirement of premeiotic DNA replication. Based on these lines of evidence, we present the whole picture of molecular mechanism of VDE-initiated homing in yeast cells.

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