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J Mol Biol. 1989 Jun 20;207(4):675-93.

Structure and function of the nun gene and the immunity region of the lambdoid phage HK022.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Abstract

The immunity region of the lambdoid phage, HK022, has been sequenced. The HK022 repressor gene, its cognate operators and promoters, and several early phage genes can be discerned. The overall design of the immunity region resembles that of other lambdoid phages. The location of the HK022 nun gene, whose product excludes superinfecting lambda by terminating transcription at (or near) the lambda nut sites, is analogous to that of gene N in lambda. nun is preceded by sequences similar to the lambda nut sites and the lambda pL promoter and is followed by several transcription termination signals. Despite these similarities, Nun is required neither for the lytic nor the lysogenic pathway of phage development. Again, unlike N, Nun is expressed in a prophage, perhaps from a promoter other than pL. We suggest that Nun and N have diverged in evolution and now perform different functions for their respective phages. Although Nun and N compete at the lambda nut sites and interact with the same host Nus proteins, they are only distantly related in predicted amino acid sequence. The presence of transcription terminators in the pL operon suggests that the expression of the HK022 early functions, like those of lambda, entails an antitermination mechanism. However, Nun does not appear to be an essential component of this mechanism. Our most economic model is that the HK022 nutL sequence suppresses pL operon terminators in the absence of a phage-encoded antitermination protein. Striking homologies between the HK022 nutL sequence and related sequences in the Escherichia coli rrn operons support this notion. Alternatively, a phage antitermination gene may be located outside the pL operon.

PMID:
2760929
DOI:
10.1016/0022-2836(89)90237-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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