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J Biomed Sci. 2009 Jan 15;16:6. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-16-6.

Mutagenesis identifies the critical amino acid residues of human endonuclease G involved in catalysis, magnesium coordination, and substrate specificity.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan. joyce@mail.cmu.edu.tw



Endonuclease G (EndoG), a member of DNA/RNA nonspecific betabetaalpha-Me-finger nucleases, is involved in apoptosis and normal cellular proliferation. In this study, we analyzed the critical amino acid residues of EndoG and proposed the catalytic mechanism of EndoG.


To identify the critical amino acid residues of human EndoG, we replaced the conserved histidine, asparagine, and arginine residues with alanine. The catalytic efficacies of Escherichia coli-expressed EndoG variants were further analyzed by kinetic studies.


Diethyl pyrocarbonate modification assay revealed that histidine residues were involved in EndoG activity. His-141, Asn-163, and Asn-172 in the H-N-H motif of EndoG were critical for catalysis and substrate specificity. H141A mutant required a higher magnesium concentration to achieve its activity, suggesting the unique role of His-141 in both catalysis and magnesium coordination. Furthermore, an additional catalytic residue (Asn-251) and an additional metal ion binding site (Glu-271) of human EndoG were identified.


Based on the mutational analysis and homology modeling, we proposed that human EndoG shared a similar catalytic mechanism with nuclease A from Anabaena.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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