ABSTRACT: Many bacteriophage and prophage genomes encode an HNH endonuclease (HNHE) next to their cohesive end site and terminase genes. The HNH catalytic domain contains the conserved catalytic residues His-Asn-His and a zinc-binding site [CxxC](2). An additional zinc ribbon (ZR) domain with one to two zinc-binding sites ([CxxxxC], [CxxxxH], [CxxxC], [HxxxH], [CxxC] or [CxxH]) is frequently found at the N-terminus or C-terminus of the HNHE or a ZR domain protein (ZRP) located adjacent to the HNHE. We expressed and purified 10 such HNHEs and characterized their cleavage sites. These HNHEs are site-specific and strand-specific nicking endonucleases (NEase or nickase) with 3- to 7-bp specificities. A minimal HNH nicking domain of 76 amino acid residues was identified from Bacillus phage ? HNHE and subsequently fused to a zinc finger protein to generate a chimeric NEase with a new specificity (12-13 bp). The identification of a large pool of previously unknown natural NEases and engineered NEases provides more 'tools' for DNA manipulation and molecular diagnostics. The small modular HNH nicking domain can be used to generate rare NEases applicable to targeted genome editing. In addition, the engineered ZF nickase is useful for evaluation of off-target sites in vitro before performing cell-based gene modification.
Project description:Collagen biosynthesis occurs in the rough endoplasmic reticulum, and many molecular chaperones and folding enzymes are involved in this process. The folding mechanism of type I procollagen has been well characterized, and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) has been suggested as a key player in the formation of the correct disulfide bonds in the noncollagenous carboxyl-terminal and amino-terminal propeptides. Prolyl 3-hydroxylase 1 (P3H1) forms a hetero-trimeric complex with cartilage-associated protein and cyclophilin B (CypB). This complex is a multifunctional complex acting as a prolyl 3-hydroxylase, a peptidyl prolyl cis-trans isomerase, and a molecular chaperone. Two major domains are predicted from the primary sequence of P3H1: an amino-terminal domain and a carboxyl-terminal domain corresponding to the 2-oxoglutarate- and iron-dependent dioxygenase domains similar to the ?-subunit of prolyl 4-hydroxylase and lysyl hydroxylases. The amino-terminal domain contains four CXXXC sequence repeats. The primary sequence of cartilage-associated protein is homologous to the amino-terminal domain of P3H1 and also contains four CXXXC sequence repeats. However, the function of the CXXXC sequence repeats is not known. Several publications have reported that short peptides containing a CXC or a CXXC sequence show oxido-reductase activity similar to PDI in vitro. We hypothesize that CXXXC motifs have oxido-reductase activity similar to the CXXC motif in PDI. We have tested the enzyme activities on model substrates in vitro using a GCRALCG peptide and the P3H1 complex. Our results suggest that this complex could function as a disulfide isomerase in the rough endoplasmic reticulum.
Project description:Several mammalian proteins involved in chromatin and DNA modification contain CXXC zinc finger domains. We compared the structure and function of the CXXC domains in the DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1 and the methylcytosine dioxygenase Tet1. Sequence alignment showed that both CXXC domains have a very similar framework but differ in the central tip region. Based on the known structure of a similar MLL1 domain we developed homology models and designed expression constructs for the isolated CXXC domains of Dnmt1 and Tet1 accordingly. We show that the CXXC domain of Tet1 has no DNA binding activity and is dispensable for catalytic activity in vivo. In contrast, the CXXC domain of Dnmt1 selectively binds DNA substrates containing unmethylated CpG sites. Surprisingly, a Dnmt1 mutant construct lacking the CXXC domain formed covalent complexes with cytosine bases both in vitro and in vivo and rescued DNA methylation patterns in dnmt1?/? embryonic stem cells (ESCs) just as efficiently as wild type Dnmt1. Interestingly, neither wild type nor ?CXXC Dnmt1 re-methylated imprinted CpG sites of the H19a promoter in dnmt1?/? ESCs, arguing against a role of the CXXC domain in restraining Dnmt1 methyltransferase activity on unmethylated CpG sites.
Project description:Tet proteins are emerging as major epigenetic modulators of cell fate and plasticity. However, little is known about how Tet proteins are targeted to selected genomic loci in distinct biological contexts. Previously, a CXXC-type zinc finger domain in Tet1 was shown to bind CpG-rich DNA sequences. Interestingly, in human and mouse the Tet2 and Tet3 genes are adjacent to Cxxc4 and Cxxc10-1, respectively. The CXXC domains encoded by these loci, together with those in Tet1 and Cxxc5, identify a distinct homology group within the CXXC domain family. Here we provide evidence for alternative mouse Tet3 transcripts including the Cxxc10-1 sequence (Tet3(CXXC)) and for an interaction between Tet3 and Cxxc4. In vitro Cxxc4 and the isolated CXXC domains of Tet1 and Tet3(CXXC) bind DNA substrates with similar preference towards the modification state of cytosine at a single CpG site. In vivo Tet1 and Tet3 isoforms with and without CXXC domain hydroxylate genomic 5-methylcytosine with similar activity. Relative transcript levels suggest that distinct ratios of Tet3(CXXC) isoforms and Tet3-Cxxc4 complex may be present in adult tissues. Our data suggest that variable association with CXXC modules may contribute to context specific functions of Tet proteins.
Project description:The use of paired Cas9 nickases instead of Cas9 nuclease drastically reduces off-target effects. Because both nickases must function for a nickase pair to make a double-strand break, the efficiency of paired nickases can intuitively be expected to be lower than that of either corresponding nuclease alone. Here, we carefully compared the gene-disrupting efficiency of Cas9 paired nickases with that of nucleases. Interestingly, the T7E1 assay and deep sequencing showed that on-target efficiency of paired D10A Cas9 nickases was frequently comparable, but sometimes higher than that of either corresponding nucleases in mammalian cells. As the underlying mechanism, we found that the HNH domain, which is preserved in the D10A Cas9 nickase, has higher activity than the RuvC domain in mammalian cells. In this study, we showed: (i) the in vivo cleavage efficiency of the HNH domain of Cas9 in mammalian cells is higher than that of the RuvC domain, (ii) paired Cas9 nickases are sometimes more efficient than individual nucleases for gene disruption. We envision that our findings which were overlooked in previous reports will serve as a new potential guideline for tool selection for CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene disruption, facilitating efficient and precise genome editing.
Project description:The crystal structure of a putative HNH endonuclease, Gmet_0936 protein from Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, has been determined at 2.6 Å resolution using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion method. The structure contains a two-stranded anti-parallel ?-sheet that are surrounded by two helices on each face, and reveals a Zn ion bound in each monomer, coordinated by residues Cys38, Cys41, Cys73, and Cys76, which likely plays an important structural role in stabilizing the overall conformation. Structural homologs of Gmet_0936 include Hpy99I endonuclease, phage T4 endonuclease VII, and other HNH endonucleases, with these enzymes sharing 15-20% amino acid sequence identity. An overlay of Gmet_0936 and Hpy99I structures shows that most of the secondary structure elements, catalytic residues as well as the zinc binding site (zinc ribbon) are conserved. However, Gmet_0936 lacks the N-terminal domain of Hpy99I, which mediates DNA binding as well as dimerization. Purified Gmet_0936 forms dimers in solution and a dimer of the protein is observed in the crystal, but with a different mode of dimerization as compared to Hpy99I. Gmet_0936 and its N77H variant show a weak DNA binding activity in a DNA mobility shift assay and a weak Mn²?-dependent nicking activity on supercoiled plasmids in low pH buffers. The preferred substrate appears to be acid and heat-treated DNA with AP sites, suggesting Gmet_0936 may be a DNA repair enzyme.
Project description:DraIII is a type IIP restriction endonucleases (REases) that recognizes and creates a double strand break within the gapped palindromic sequence CAC↑NNN↓GTG of double-stranded DNA (↑ indicates nicking on the bottom strand; ↓ indicates nicking on the top strand). However, wild type DraIII shows significant star activity. In this study, it was found that the prominent star site is CAT↑GTT↓GTG, consisting of a star 5' half (CAT) and a canonical 3' half (GTG). DraIII nicks the 3' canonical half site at a faster rate than the 5' star half site, in contrast to the similar rate with the canonical full site. The crystal structure of the DraIII protein was solved. It indicated, as supported by mutagenesis, that DraIII possesses a ββα-metal HNH active site. The structure revealed extensive intra-molecular interactions between the N-terminal domain and the C-terminal domain containing the HNH active site. Disruptions of these interactions through site-directed mutagenesis drastically increased cleavage fidelity. The understanding of fidelity mechanisms will enable generation of high fidelity REases.
Project description:HNH endonucleases in bacteriophages play a variety of roles in the phage lifecycle as key components of phage DNA packaging machines. The deep-sea thermophilic bacteriophage Geobacillus virus E2 (GVE2) encodes an HNH endonuclease (GVE2 HNHE). Here, the crystal structure of GVE2 HNHE is reported. This is the first structural study of a thermostable HNH endonuclease from a thermophilic bacteriophage. Structural comparison reveals that GVE2 HNHE possesses a typical ???-metal fold and Zn-finger motif similar to those of HNH endonucleases from other bacteriophages, apart from containing an extra ?-helix, suggesting conservation of these enzymes among bacteriophages. Biochemical analysis suggests that the alanine substitutions of the conserved residues (H93, N109 and H118) in the HNH motif of GVE2 HNHE abolished 94%, 60% and 83% of nicking activity, respectively. Compared to the wild type enzyme, the H93A mutant displayed almost the same conformation while the N108A and H118A mutants had different conformations. In addition, the wild type enzyme was more thermostable than the mutants. In the presence of Mn2+ or Zn2+, the wild type enzyme displayed distinct DNA nicking patterns. However, high Mn2+ concentrations were needed for the N109A and H118A mutants to nick DNA while Zn2+ inactivated their nicking activity.
Project description:Targeted genome engineering requires nucleases that introduce a highly specific double-strand break in the genome that is either processed by homology-directed repair in the presence of a homologous repair template or by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) that usually results in insertions or deletions. The error-prone NHEJ can be efficiently suppressed by 'nickases' that produce a single-strand break rather than a double-strand break. Highly specific nickases have been produced by engineering of homing endonucleases and more recently by modifying zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) composed of a zinc finger array and the catalytic domain of the restriction endonuclease FokI. These ZF-nickases work as heterodimers in which one subunit has a catalytically inactive FokI domain. We present two different approaches to engineer highly specific nickases; both rely on the sequence-specific nicking activity of the DNA mismatch repair endonuclease MutH which we fused to a DNA-binding module, either a catalytically inactive variant of the homing endonuclease I-SceI or the DNA-binding domain of the TALE protein AvrBs4. The fusion proteins nick strand specifically a bipartite recognition sequence consisting of the MutH and the I-SceI or TALE recognition sequences, respectively, with a more than 1000-fold preference over a stand-alone MutH site. TALE-MutH is a programmable nickase.
Project description:We herein describe a simple and versatile approach to use conventional nicking endonuclease (NEase) for programmable sequence-specific cleavage of DNA, termed aligner-mediated cleavage (AMC), and its application to DNA isothermal exponential amplification (AMC-based strand displacement amplification, AMC-SDA). AMC uses a hairpin-shaped DNA aligner (DA) that contains a recognition site in its stem and two side arms complementary to target DNA. Thus, it enables the loading of an NEase on DA's stem, localization to a specific locus through hybridization of the side arms with target DNA, and cleavage thereof. By using just one NEase, it is easy to make a break at any specific locus and tune the cleavage site to the single-nucleotide scale. This capability also endows the proposed AMC-SDA with excellent universality, since the cleavage of target DNA, followed by a polymerase-catalyzed extension along a particular primer as a key step for initiating SDA, no longer relies on any special sequence. Moreover, this manner of initiation facilitates the adoption of 3'-terminated primers, thus making AMC-SDA highly sensitive and highly specific, as well as simple primer design.
Project description:Ku protein participates in DNA double-strand break repair via the nonhomologous end-joining pathway. The three-dimensional structure of eukaryotic Ku reveals a central core consisting of a ?-barrel domain and pillar and bridge regions that combine to form a ring-like structure that encircles DNA. Homologs of Ku are encoded by a subset of bacterial species, and they are predicted to conserve this core domain. In addition, the bridge region of Ku from some bacteria is predicted from homology modeling and sequence analyses to contain a conventional HxxC and CxxC (where x is any residue) zinc-binding motif. These potential zinc-binding sites have either deteriorated or been entirely lost in Ku from other organisms. Using an in vitro metal binding assay, we show that Mycobacterium smegmatis Ku binds two zinc ions. Zinc binding modestly stabilizes the Ku protein (by ?3°C) and prevents cysteine oxidation, but it has little effect on DNA binding. In vivo, zinc induces significant upregulation of the gene encoding Ku (?sixfold) as well as a divergently oriented gene encoding a predicted zinc-dependent MarR family transcription factor. Notably, overexpression of Ku confers zinc tolerance on Escherichia coli. We speculate that zinc-binding sites in Ku proteins from M. smegmatis and other mycobacterial species have been evolutionarily retained to provide protection against zinc toxicity without compromising the function of Ku in DNA double-strand break repair.