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J Mol Biol. 1988 Nov 5;204(1):205-9.

Evidence that DNA helicase I and oriT site-specific nicking are both functions of the F TraI protein.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.


Site-specific and strand-specific nicking at the origin of transfer (oriT) of the F sex factor is the initial step in conjugal DNA metabolism. Then, DNA helicase I, the product of the traI gene, processively unwinds the plasmid from the nick site to generate the single strand of DNA that is transferred to the recipient. The nick at oriT is produced by the combined action of two Tra proteins, TraY and TraZ. The traZ gene was never precisely mapped, as no available point mutation uniquely affected TraZ-dependent oriT nicking. With several new mutations, we have demonstrated that TraZ activity is dependent upon traI DNA sequences. The simplest interpretation of this finding is that the F TraI protein is bifunctional, with DNA unwinding and site-specific DNA nicking activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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