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Bioessays. 2003 Mar;25(3):232-42.

Phylogenomics of type II DNA topoisomerases.

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  • 1Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, CNRS, UMR 8621, Université Paris-Sud, France.


Type II DNA topoisomerases (Topo II) are essential enzymes implicated in key nuclear processes. The recent discovery of a novel kind of Topo II (DNA topoisomerase VI) in Archaea led to a division of these enzymes into two non-homologous families, (Topo IIA and Topo IIB) and to the identification of the eukaryotic protein that initiates meiotic recombination, Spo11. In the present report, we have updated the distribution of all Topo II in the three domains of life by a phylogenomic approach. Both families exhibit an atypical distribution by comparison with other informational proteins, with predominance of Topo IIA in Bacteria, Eukarya and viruses, and Topo IIB in Archaea. However, plants and some Archaea contain Topo II from both families. We confront this atypical distribution with current hypotheses on the evolution of the three domains of life and origin of DNA genomes.

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