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J Mol Biol. 2000 Mar 3;296(4):969-77.

Antirestriction protein Ard (Type C) encoded by IncW plasmid pSa has a high similarity to the "protein transport" domain of TraC1 primase of promiscuous plasmid RP4.

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Department of Genetic Engineering, National Cardiological Research and Development Center, Moscow, 121552, Russia.


The IncW plasmid pSa contains the gene ard encoding an antirestriction function that is specific for type I restriction and modification systems. The nucleotide sequence of ard was determined and an appropriate polypeptide of about 33 kDa was identified in Escherichia coli T7 expression system. Analysis of deduced amino acid sequence of Ard encoded by pSa revealed that this protein has no significant similarities with the known Ard proteins (ArdA and ArdB types) except the "antirestriction" motif (14 amino acid residues in length) conserved for all known Ard proteins. This finding suggests that pSa Ard may be classified as a new type of Ard proteins which we designated ArdC. The remarkable feature of ArdC is that it has a high degree of similarity (about 38 % identity) to the N-terminal region of RP4 TraC1 primase which includes about 300 amino acid residues and seems to be essential for binding to the single-stranded DNA and TraC1 protein transport to the recipient cells during the conjugal transfer of plasmid DNA. ArdC also binds to single-stranded DNA. In addition, this protein is able in vitro to protect the single-stranded but not double-stranded plasmid DNA against the activity of type II restriction endonuclease HhaI that cleaves both single and double-stranded DNA. We suggest that like TraC1, ArdC would be transported as a result of their interaction with the single-stranded DNA of transferred plasmid strand during conjugative passage through the cell envelope to the recipient bacterium. Such properties of ArdC protein might be useful to protect immediately the incoming single-stranded DNA from the host endonucleases.

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