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J Bacteriol. 2000 May;182(10):2787-92.

Purification and characterization of the R64 shufflon-specific recombinase.

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Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Minamiohsawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan.


The shufflon, a multiple DNA inversion system in plasmid R64, consists of four invertible DNA segments which are separated and flanked by seven 19-bp repeat sequences. The product of a site-specific recombinase gene, rci, promotes site-specific recombination between any two of the inverted 19-bp repeat sequences of the shufflon. To analyze the molecular mechanism of this recombination reaction, Rci protein was overproduced and purified. The purified Rci protein promoted the in vitro recombination reaction between the inverted 19-bp repeats of supercoiled DNA of a plasmid carrying segment A of the R64 shufflon. The recombination reaction was enhanced by the bacterial host factor HU. Gel electrophoretic analysis indicated that the Rci protein specifically binds to the DNA segments carrying the 19-bp sequences. The binding affinity of the Rci protein to the four shufflon segments as well as four synthetic 19-bp sequences differed greatly: among the four 19-bp repeat sequences, the repeat-a and -d sequences displayed higher affinity to Rci protein. These results suggest that the differences in the affinity of Rci protein for the 19-bp repeat sequences determine the inversion frequencies of the four segments.

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