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Gene. 2002 Oct 30;300(1-2):13-8.

Specificity in DNA recognition by phage integrases.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The lambda-related (lambdoid) coliphages are related to one another by frequent natural recombination and maintain a high level of functional polymorphism for several activities of the phages. Arguments are presented that the polymorphism of the integration module results from selection (presumably frequency-dependent) for new (not improved) specificities of site recognition. Analysis of phages lambda and HK022 by Weisberg and collaborators previously showed that changes in five noncontiguous amino acids could switch site recognition specificity. Phage 21 and defective element e14, which integrate at the same site, differ in recognition specificity for both core and arm sites. In vitro assays of e14 and 21 insertion and excision confirm this conclusion. Inhibition by ds arm site oligonucleotides defines the sequence specificity more precisely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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