Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Mar;39(4):1381-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq924. Epub 2010 Oct 23.

Assembly of a fragmented ribonucleotide reductase by protein interaction domains derived from a mobile genetic element.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.


Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) is a critical enzyme of nucleotide metabolism, synthesizing precursors for DNA replication and repair. In prokaryotic genomes, RNR genes are commonly targeted by mobile genetic elements, including free standing and intron-encoded homing endonucleases and inteins. Here, we describe a unique molecular solution to assemble a functional product from the RNR large subunit gene, nrdA that has been fragmented into two smaller genes by the insertion of mobE, a mobile endonuclease. We show that unique sequences that originated during the mobE insertion and that are present as C- and N-terminal tails on the split NrdA-a and NrdA-b polypeptides, are absolutely essential for enzymatic activity. Our data are consistent with the tails functioning as protein interaction domains to assemble the tetrameric (NrdA-a/NrdA-b)(2) large subunit necessary for a functional RNR holoenzyme. The tails represent a solution distinct from RNA and protein splicing or programmed DNA rearrangements to restore function from a fragmented coding region and may represent a general mechanism to neutralize fragmentation of essential genes by mobile genetic elements.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk