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J Biol Chem. 1993 Oct 15;268(29):21844-53.

Purification and characterization of VDE, a site-specific endonuclease from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


The 119-kDa primary translation product of the VMA1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae undergoes a self-catalyzed rearrangement ("protein splicing") that excises an internal 50-kDa segment of the polypeptide and joins the amino-terminal and carboxyl-terminal segments to generate the 69-kDa subunit of the vacuolar membrane-associated H(+)-ATPase. We have shown previously that the internal segment is a site-specific endonuclease (Gimble, F. S., and Thorner, J. (1992) Nature 357, 301-306). Here we describe methods for the high level expression and purification to near homogeneity of both the authentic VMA1-derived endonuclease (or VDE) from yeast (yield 18%) and a recombinant form of VDE made in bacteria (yield 29%). Detailed characterization of these preparations demonstrated that the yeast-derived and bacterially produced enzymes were indistinguishable, as judged by: (a) behavior during purification; (b) apparent native molecular mass (50 kDa); (c) immunological reactivity; and (d) catalytic properties (specific activity; cleavage site recognition; and optima for pH, temperature, divalent cation and ionic strength). The minimal site required for VDE cleavage was delimited to a 30-base pair sequence within its specific substrate (the VMA1 delta vde allele).

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