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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Oct;50(1):129-43.

Bacteriophage T4-encoded Stp can be replaced as activator of anticodon nuclease by a normal host cell metabolite.

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Department of Biochemistry, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


The bacterial tRNALys-specific anticodon nuclease is known as a phage T4 exclusion system. In the uninfected host cell anticodon nuclease is kept latent due to the association of its core protein PrrC with the DNA restriction-modification endonuclease EcoprrI. Stp, the T4-encoded peptide inhibitor of EcoprrI activates the latent enzyme. Previous in vitro work indicated that the activation by Stp is sensitive to DNase and requires added nucleotides. Biochemical and mutational data reported here suggest that Stp activates the latent holoenzyme when its EcoprrI component is tethered to a cognate DNA substrate. Moreover, the activation is driven by GTP hydrolysis, possibly mediated by the NTPase domain of PrrC. The data also reveal that Stp can be replaced as the activator of latent anticodon nuclease by certain pyrimidine nucleotides, the most potent of which is dTTP. The activation by dTTP likewise requires an EcoprrI DNA substrate and GTP hydrolysis but involves a different form of the latent holoenzyme/DNA complex. Moreover, whereas Stp relays its activating effect through EcoprrI, dTTP targets PrrC. The activation of the latent enzyme by a normal cell constituent hints that anticodon nuclease plays additional roles, other than warding off phage T4 infection.

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