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J Mol Biol. 2004 Sep 3;342(1):43-56.

DNA binding and cleavage by the HNH homing endonuclease I-HmuI.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N. A3-025, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


The structure of I-HmuI, which represents the last family of homing endonucleases without a defining crystallographic structure, has been determined in complex with its DNA target. A series of diverse protein structural domains and motifs, contacting sequential stretches of nucleotide bases, are distributed along the DNA target. I-HmuI contains an N-terminal domain with a DNA-binding surface found in the I-PpoI homing endonuclease and an associated HNH/N active site found in the bacterial colicins, and a C-terminal DNA-binding domain previously observed in the I-TevI homing endonuclease. The combination and exchange of these features between protein families indicates that the genetic mobility associated with homing endonucleases extends to the level of independent structural domains. I-HmuI provides an unambiguous structural connection between the His-Cys box endonucleases and the bacterial colicins, supporting the hypothesis that these enzymes diverged from a common ancestral nuclease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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