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Curr Biol. 2009 Feb 10;19(3):218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.11.069.

A free-standing homing endonuclease targets an intron insertion site in the psbA gene of cyanophages.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY 12222, USA.

Abstract

Homing endonuclease genes are mobile elements that promote their duplication into cognate sites that lack the endonuclease gene [1, 2]. The homing endonuclease initiates this event through site-specific DNA cleavage. Copying of the endonuclease gene follows as a consequence of DNA repair. A genome containing a homing endonuclease gene is subject to self-cleavage. Protection is accomplished through DNA sequence polymorphisms, as is the case in intronless homing of free-standing endonuclease genes [3, 4], or by disruption of the recognition site by a group I intron (or intein) into which the endonuclease ORF is embedded. We describe here a novel free-standing homing endonuclease from cyanobacteriophage S-PM2, which is similar to the DNA resolvase of bacteriophage T4 and is encoded adjacent to an intron-containing psbA gene [5, 6]. The endonuclease makes a specific double-strand cut near the intron insertion site (IIS), its DNA recognition site spans the IIS, and it is unable to cleave intron-containing psbA genes. This interdependence of a free-standing endonuclease gene and a group I intron, which we denote "collaborative homing," has not been reported previously and gives support to a hypothesis of formation of composite mobile introns by independent convergence of an intron and an endonuclease gene on the same target sequence.

PMID:
19200728
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2008.11.069
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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