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J Mol Biol. 1986 Jun 20;189(4):603-16.

Structural and regulatory divergence among site-specific recombination genes of lambdoid phage.


The lambdoid bacteriophage phi 80 and P22 have site-specific recombination systems similar to that of lambda. Each of the three phage has a different insertion specificity, but structural analysis of their attachment sites suggests that the three recombination pathways share similar features. In this study, we have identified and sequenced the int and xis genes of phi 80 and P22. phi 80 int and xis were identified using a plasmid recombination assay in vivo, and the P22 genes were mapped using Tn1 insertion mutations. In all three phage, the site-specific recombination genes are located directly adjacent to the phage attachment site. Interestingly, the transcriptional orientation of the phi 80 int gene is opposite to that of lambda and P22 int, resulting in convergent transcription of phi 80 int and xis. Because of its transcriptional orientation, phi 80 int cannot be expressed by the major leftward promoter, PL, and the regulatory strategy of phi 80 integration and excision must differ significantly from that of lambda. The deduced amino acid sequences of the recombination proteins of the three systems show surprisingly little homology. Sequences homologous to the lambda PI promoter are more conserved than the protein-coding sequences. Nevertheless, the Int proteins are locally related in the C-terminal sequences, particularly for a stretch of some 25 amino acid residues that lie approximately 50 residues from the C terminus. The Xis proteins can be aligned at their N termini.

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