SegH and Hef: two novel homing endonucleases whose genes replace the mobC and mobE genes in several T4-related phages.
ABSTRACT: T4 contains two groups of genes with similarity to homing endonucleases, the seg-genes (similarity to endonucleases encoded by group I introns) containing GIY-YIG motifs and the mob-genes (similarity to mobile endonucleases) containing H-N-H motifs. The four seg-genes characterized to date encode homing endonucleases with cleavage sites close to their respective gene loci while none of the mob-genes have been shown to cleave DNA. Of 18 phages screened, only T4 was found to have mobC while mobE genes were found in five additional phages. Interestingly, three phages encoded a seg-like gene (hereby called segH) with a GIY-YIG motif in place of mobC. An additional phage has an unrelated gene called hef (homing endonuclease-like function) in place of the mobE gene. The gene products of both novel genes displayed homing endonuclease activity with cleavage site specificity close to their respective genes. In contrast to intron encoded homing endonucleases, both SegH and Hef can cleave their own DNA as well as DNA from phages without the genes. Both segH and mobE (and most likely hef) can home between phages in mixed infections. We discuss why it might be a selective advantage for phage freestanding homing endonucleases to cleave both HEG-containing and HEG-less genomes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is associated with gastroenteritis, wound infections, and septicemia in human and animals. Phages can control the population of the pathogen. So far, the only one reported genome among giant vibriophages is KVP40: 244,835 bp with 26% coding regions that have T4 homologs. Putative homing endonucleases (HE) were found in Vibrio phage KVP40 bearing one segD and Vibrio cholerae phage ICP1 carrying one mobC/E and one segG. RESULTS: A newly isolated Vibrio phage ?pp2, which was specific to the hosts of V. parahaemolyticus and V. alginolyticus, featured a long nonenveloped head of ~90 × 50 nm and tail of ~110 nm. The phage can survive at 50°C for more than one hour. The genome of the phage ?pp2 was sequenced to be 246,421 bp, which is 1587 bp larger than KVP40. 383 protein-encoding genes (PEGs) and 30 tRNAs were found in the phage ?pp2. Between the genomes of ?pp2 and KVP40, 254 genes including 29 PEGs for viral structure were of high similarity, whereas 17 PEGs of KVP40 and 21 PEGs of ?pp2 were unmatched. In both genomes, the capsid and tail genes have been identified, as well as the extensive representation of the DNA replication, recombination, and repair enzymes. In addition to the three giant indels of 1098, 1143 and 3330 nt, ?pp2 possessed unique proteins involved in potassium channel, gp2 (DNA end protector), tRNA nucleotidyltransferase, and mob-type HEs, which were not reported in KVP40. The ?pp2 PEG274, with strong promoters and translational initiation, was identified to be a mobE type, flanked by NrdA and NrdB/C homologs. Coincidently, several pairs of HE-flanking homologs with empty center were found in the phages of Vibrio phages ?pp2 and KVP40, as well as in Aeromonas phages (Aeh1 and Ae65), and cyanophage P-SSM2. CONCLUSIONS: Vibrio phage ?pp2 was characterized by morphology, growth, and genomics with three giant indels and different types of HEs. The gene analysis on the required elements for transcription and translation suggested that the ?pp2 PEG274 was an active mobE gene. The phage was signified to be a new species of T4-related, differing from KVP40.
Project description:In bacterial and phage genomes, coding regions are sometimes interrupted by self-splicing introns or inteins, which can encode mobility-promoting homing endonucleases. Homing endonuclease genes are also found free-standing (not intron- or intein-encoded) in phage genomes where they are inserted in intergenic regions. One example is the HNH family endonuclease, mobE, inserted between the large (nrdA) and small (nrdB) subunit genes of aerobic ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) of T-even phages T4, RB2, RB3, RB15, and LZ7. Here, we describe an insertion of mobE into the nrdA gene of Aeromonas hydrophila phage Aeh1. The insertion creates a unique genes-in-pieces arrangement, where nrdA is split into two independent genes, nrdA-a and nrdA-b, each encoding cysteine residues that correspond to the active-site residues of uninterrupted NrdA proteins. Remarkably, the mobE insertion does not inactivate NrdA function, although the insertion is not a self-splicing intron or intein. We copurified the NrdA-a, NrdA-b, and NrdB proteins as complex from Aeh1-infected cells and also showed that a reconstituted complex has RNR activity. Class I RNR activity in phage Aeh1 is thus assembled from separate proteins that interact to form a composite active site, demonstrating that the mobE insertion is phenotypically neutral in that its presence as an intervening sequence does not disrupt the function of the surrounding gene.
Project description:Homing endonucleases initiate nonreciprocal transfer of DNA segments containing their own genes and the flanking sequences by cleaving the recipient DNA. Bacteriophage T4 segB gene, which is located in a cluster of tRNA genes, encodes a protein of unknown function, homologous to homing endonucleases of the GIY-YIG family. We demonstrate that SegB protein is a site-specific endonuclease, which produces mostly 3' 2-nt protruding ends at its DNA cleavage site. Analysis of SegB cleavage sites suggests that SegB recognizes a 27-bp sequence. It contains 11-bp conserved sequence, which corresponds to a conserved motif of tRNA TpsiC stem-loop, whereas the remainder of the recognition site is rather degenerate. T4-related phages T2L, RB1 and RB3 contain tRNA gene regions that are homologous to that of phage T4 but lack segB gene and several tRNA genes. In co-infections of phages T4 and T2L, segB gene is inherited with nearly 100% of efficiency. The preferred inheritance depends absolutely on the segB gene integrity and is accompanied by the loss of the T2L tRNA gene region markers. We suggest that SegB is a homing endonuclease that functions to ensure spreading of its own gene and the surrounding tRNA genes among T4-related phages.
Project description:Homing endonucleases are site-specific DNA endonucleases that typically function as mobile genetic elements by introducing a double-strand break (DSB) in genomes that lack the endonuclease, resulting in a unidirectional gene conversion event that mobilizes the homing endonuclease gene and flanking DNA. Here, we characterize phage T4-encoded mobE, a predicted free-standing HNH family homing endonuclease. We show that mobE is promoterless and dependent on upstream transcription for expression, and that an internal intrinsic terminator regulates mobE transcript levels. Crucially, in vivo mapping experiments revealed a MobE-dependent, strand-specific nick in the non-coding strand of the nrdB gene of phage T2. An internal deletion of the predicted HNH catalytic motif of MobE abolishes nicking, and reduces high-frequency inheritance of mobE. Sequence polymorphisms of progeny phage that inherit mobE are consistent with DSB repair pathways. Significantly, we found that mobility of the neighboring I-TevIII, a defunct homing endonuclease encoded within a group I intron interrupting the nrdB gene of phage T4, was dependent on an intact mobE gene. Thus, our data indicate that the stagnant nrdB intron and I-TevIII are mobilized in trans as a consequence of a MobE-dependent gene conversion event, facilitating persistence of genetic elements that have no inherent means of promoting their own mobility.
Project description:We report the complete genome sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa siphophage MP1412, which displays synteny to those of P. aeruginosa phages M6 and YuA. However, the presence of two homing endonucleases of the GIY-YIG family is unique to MP1412, suggesting their unique role in the phage life cycle of the bacterial host.
Project description:Here we describe the discovery of a group I intron in the DNA polymerase gene of Bacillus thuringiensis phage Bastille. Although the intron insertion site is identical to that of the Bacillus subtilis phages SPO1 and SP82 introns, the Bastille intron differs from them substantially in primary and secondary structure. Like the SPO1 and SP82 introns, the Bastille intron encodes a nicking DNA endonuclease of the H-N-H family, I-BasI, with a cleavage site identical to that of the SPO1-encoded enzyme I-HmuI. Unlike I-HmuI, which nicks both intron-minus and intron-plus DNA, I-BasI cleaves only intron-minus alleles, which is a characteristic of typical homing endonucleases. Interestingly, the C-terminal portions of these H-N-H phage endonucleases contain a conserved sequence motif, the intron-encoded endonuclease repeat motif (IENR1) that also has been found in endonucleases of the GIY-YIG family, and which likely comprises a small DNA-binding module with a globular betabetaalphaalphabeta fold, suggestive of module shuffling between different homing endonuclease families.
Project description:Homing endonucleases are site-specific DNA endonucleases that function as mobile genetic elements by introducing double-strand breaks or nicks at defined locations. Of the major families of homing endonucleases, the modular GIY-YIG endonucleases are least understood in terms of mechanism. The GIY-YIG homing endonuclease I-BmoI generates a double-strand break by sequential nicking reactions during which the single active site of the GIY-YIG nuclease domain must undergo a substantial reorganization. Here, we show that divalent metal ion plays a significant role in regulating the two independent nicking reactions by I-BmoI. Rate constant determination for each nicking reaction revealed that limiting divalent metal ion has a greater impact on the second strand than the first strand nicking reaction. We also show that substrate mutations within the I-BmoI cleavage site can modulate the first strand nicking reaction over a 314-fold range. Additionally, in-gel DNA footprinting with mutant substrates and modeling of an I-BmoI-substrate complex suggest that amino acid contacts to a critical GC-2 base pair are required to induce a bottom-strand distortion that likely directs conformational changes for reaction progress. Collectively, our data implies mechanistic roles for divalent metal ion and substrate bases, suggesting that divalent metal ion facilitates the re-positioning of the GIY-YIG nuclease domain between sequential nicking reactions.
Project description:Targeted manipulation of complex genomes often requires the introduction of a double-strand break at defined locations by site-specific DNA endonucleases. Here, we describe a monomeric nuclease domain derived from GIY-YIG homing endonucleases for genome-editing applications. Fusion of the GIY-YIG nuclease domain to three-member zinc-finger DNA binding domains generated chimeric GIY-zinc finger endonucleases (GIY-ZFEs). Significantly, the I-TevI-derived fusions (Tev-ZFEs) function in vitro as monomers to introduce a double-strand break, and discriminate in vitro and in bacterial and yeast assays against substrates lacking a preferred 5'-CNNNG-3' cleavage motif. The Tev-ZFEs function to induce recombination in a yeast-based assay with activity on par with a homodimeric Zif268 zinc-finger nuclease. We also fused the I-TevI nuclease domain to a catalytically inactive LADGLIDADG homing endonuclease (LHE) scaffold. The monomeric Tev-LHEs are active in vivo and similarly discriminate against substrates lacking the 5'-CNNNG-3' motif. The monomeric Tev-ZFEs and Tev-LHEs are distinct from the FokI-derived zinc-finger nuclease and TAL effector nuclease platforms as the GIY-YIG domain alleviates the requirement to design two nuclease fusions to target a given sequence, highlighting the diversity of nuclease domains with distinctive biochemical properties suitable for genome-editing applications.
Project description:Homing endonucleases are sequence-tolerant DNA endonucleases that act as mobile genetic elements. The ability of homing endonucleases to cleave substrates with multiple nucleotide substitutions suggests a high degree of adaptability in that changing or modulating cleavage preference would require relatively few amino acid substitutions. Here, using directed evolution experiments with the GIY-YIG homing endonuclease I-TevI that targets the thymidylate synthase gene of phage T4, we readily isolated variants that dramatically broadened I-TevI cleavage preference, as well as variants that fine-tuned cleavage preference. By combining substitutions, we observed an ∼10 000-fold improvement in cleavage on some substrates not cleaved by the wild-type enzyme, correlating with a decrease in readout of information content at the cleavage site. Strikingly, we were able to change the cleavage preference of I-TevI to that of the isoschizomer I-BmoI which targets a different cleavage site in the thymidylate synthase gene, recapitulating the evolution of cleavage preference in this family of homing endonucleases. Our results define a strategy to isolate GIY-YIG nuclease domains with distinct cleavage preferences, and provide insight into how homing endonucleases may escape a dead-end life cycle in a population of saturated target sites by promoting transposition to different target sites.
Project description:GIY-YIG homing endonucleases are modular proteins, with conserved N-terminal catalytic domains connected by linkers to C-terminal DNA-binding domains. I-TevI, the T4 phage GIY-YIG intron endonuclease, functions both in promoting td intron homing, and in acting as a transcriptional autorepressor. Repression is achieved by binding to an operator, which is cleaved at 100-fold reduced efficiency relative to the intronless homing site. The linker includes a zinc finger, which functions in distance determination, to constrain the catalytic domain to cleave the homing site at a fixed position. Here we show that I-BmoI, a related GIY-YIG endonuclease lacking a zinc finger, also possesses some cleavage distance discrimination. Furthermore, hybrid endonucleases constructed by swapping the domains of I-BmoI and I-TevI are active, precise and demonstrate that features other than the zinc finger facilitate distance determination. Most importantly, I-TevI zinc finger mutants cleave the operator more efficiently than the homing site, the converse of wild-type protein. These results are consistent with the zinc finger acting as a measuring device, directing efficient cleavage of the homing site to promote intron mobility, while reducing cleavage at the operator to ensure transcriptional autorepression and phage viability.