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Gene. 1986;44(1):79-88.

Cloning of a gene encoding a DNA polymerase-exonuclease of Streptococcus pneumoniae.


A procedure was developed for cloning and characterizing genes that encode proteins with nuclease activity in the Streptococcus pneumoniae [pLS1] host/vector system. Clones are screened for nuclease activity by a DNase colony assay and the nucleases that they produce are characterized by detection of enzyme activity after sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The method was used to clone the gene encoding a DNA polymerase (Pol)-exonuclease of S. pneumoniae. The activity of this enzyme, the predominant DNA Pol of S. pneumoniae, is tenfold greater in cells carrying the multicopy recombinant plasmid than in cells without the plasmid. The enzyme corresponds to a 100-kDa polypeptide, and its properties are similar to PolI of Escherichia coli. A restriction map of the pSM22 plasmid containing the pneumococcal polA gene was obtained. The gene was transferred into Bacillus subtilis and E. coli, and it was expressed in both species. Its direction of transcription was determined by placement of the gene in both orientations in an E. coli hyperexpression plasmid. In one of the orientations the pneumococcal PolI enzyme was produced at a level 50-fold greater than normally found in S. pneumoniae, and it comprised 5% of the total protein.

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