HNH proteins are a widespread component of phage DNA packaging machines.
ABSTRACT: The genome packaging reactions of tailed bacteriophages and herpes viruses require the activity of a terminase enzyme, which is comprised of large and small subunits. Phage genomes are replicated as linear concatemers composed of multiple copies of the genome joined end to end. As the terminase enzyme packages the genome into the phage capsid, it cleaves the DNA into single genome-length units. In this work, we show that the phage HK97 HNH protein, gp74, is required for the specific endonuclease activity of HK97 terminase and is essential for phage head morphogenesis. HNH proteins are a very common family of proteins generally associated with nuclease activity that are found in all kingdoms of life. We show that the activity of gp74 in terminase-mediated cleavage of the phage cos site relies on the presence of an HNH motif active-site residue, and that the large subunit of HK97 terminase physically interacts with gp74. Bioinformatic analysis reveals that the role of HNH proteins in terminase function is widespread among long-tailed phages and is uniquely required for the activity of the Terminase_1 family of large terminase proteins.
Project description:The last gene in the genome of the bacteriophage HK97 encodes gp74, an HNH endonuclease. HNH motifs contain two conserved His residues and an invariant Asn residue, and they adopt a ββα structure. gp74 is essential for phage head morphogenesis, likely because gp74 enhances the specific endonuclease activity of the HK97 terminase complex. Notably, the ability of gp74 to enhance the terminase-mediated cleavage of the phage <i>cos</i> site requires an intact HNH motif in gp74. Mutation of H82, the conserved metal-binding His residue in the HNH motif, to Ala abrogates gp74-mediated stimulation of terminase activity. Here, we present nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies demonstrating that gp74 contains an α-helical insertion in the Ω-loop, which connects the two β-strands of the ββα fold, and a disordered C-terminal tail. NMR data indicate that the Ω-loop insert makes contacts to the ββα fold and influences the ability of gp74 to bind divalent metal ions. Further, the Ω-loop insert and C-terminal tail contribute to gp74-mediated DNA digestion and to gp74 activity in phage morphogenesis. The data presented here enrich our molecular-level understanding of how HNH endonucleases enhance terminase-mediated digestion of the <i>cos</i> site and contribute to the phage replication cycle.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> This study demonstrates that residues outside the canonical ββα fold, namely, the Ω-loop α-helical insert and a disordered C-terminal tail, regulate the activity of the HNH endonuclease gp74. The increased divalent metal ion binding when the Ω-loop insert is removed compared to reduced <i>cos</i> site digestion and phage formation indicates that the Ω-loop insert plays multiple regulatory roles. The data presented here provide insights into the molecular basis of the involvement of HNH proteins in phage DNA packing.
Project description:The last gene in the genome of the bacteriophage HK97 encodes the protein gp74. We present data in this article that demonstrates, for the first time, that gp74 possesses HNH endonuclease activity. HNH endonucleases are small DNA binding and digestion proteins characterized by two His residues and an Asn residue. We demonstrate that gp74 cleaves lambda phage DNA at multiple sites and that gp74 requires divalent metals for its endonuclease activity. We also present intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence data that show direct binding of Ni(2+) to gp74. The activity of gp74 in the presence of Ni(2+) is significantly decreased below neutral pH, suggesting the presence of one or more His residues in metal binding and/or DNA digestion. Surprisingly, this pH-dependence of activity is not seen with Zn(2+) , suggesting a different mode of binding of Zn(2+) and Ni(2+) . This difference in activity may result from binding of a second Zn(2+) ion by a putative zinc finger in gp74 in addition to binding of a Zn(2+) ion by the HNH motif. These studies define the biochemical function of gp74 as an HNH endonuclease and provide a platform for determining the role of gp74 in life cycle of the bacteriophage HK97.
Project description: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:The generalized transducing double-stranded DNA bacteriophage ES18 has an icosahedral head and a long noncontractile tail, and it infects both rough and smooth Salmonella enterica strains. We report here the complete 46,900-bp genome nucleotide sequence and provide an analysis of the sequence. Its 79 genes and their organization clearly show that ES18 is a member of the lambda-like (lambdoid) phage group; however, it contains a novel set of genes that program assembly of the virion head. Most of its integration-excision, immunity, Nin region, and lysis genes are nearly identical to those of the short-tailed Salmonella phage P22, while other early genes are nearly identical to Escherichia coli phages lambda and HK97, S. enterica phage ST64T, or a Shigella flexneri prophage. Some of the ES18 late genes are novel, while others are most closely related to phages HK97, lambda, or N15. Thus, the ES18 genome is mosaically related to other lambdoid phages, as is typical for all group members. Analysis of virion DNA showed that it is circularly permuted and about 10% terminally redundant and that initiation of DNA packaging series occurs across an approximately 1-kbp region rather than at a precise location on the genome. This supports a model in which ES18 terminase can move substantial distances along the DNA between recognition and cleavage of DNA destined to be packaged. Bioinformatic analysis of large terminase subunits shows that the different functional classes of phage-encoded terminases can usually be predicted from their amino acid sequence.
Project description:Staphylococcal pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) are the prototypical members of a widespread family of chromosomally located mobile genetic elements that contribute substantially to intra- and interspecies gene transfer, host adaptation, and virulence. The key feature of their mobility is the induction of SaPI excision and replication by certain helper phages and their efficient encapsidation into phage-like infectious particles. Most SaPIs use the headful packaging mechanism and encode small terminase subunit (TerS) homologs that recognize the SaPI-specific pac site and determine SaPI packaging specificity. Several of the known SaPIs do not encode a recognizable TerS homolog but are nevertheless packaged efficiently by helper phages and transferred at high frequencies. In this report, we have characterized one of the non-terS-coding SaPIs, SaPIbov5, and found that it uses two different, undescribed packaging strategies. SaPIbov5 is packaged in full-sized phage-like particles either by typical pac-type helper phages, or by cos-type phages--i.e., it has both pac and cos sites--a configuration that has not hitherto been described for any mobile element, phages included--and uses the two different phage-coded TerSs. To our knowledge, this is the first example of SaPI packaging by a cos phage, and in this, it resembles the P4 plasmid of Escherichia coli. Cos-site packaging in Staphylococcus aureus is additionally unique in that it requires the HNH nuclease, carried only by cos phages, in addition to the large terminase subunit, for cos-site cleavage and melting.
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:The 102 residue N-terminal extension of the HK97 major capsid protein, the delta domain, is normally present during the assembly of immature HK97 procapsids, but it is removed during maturation like well-known internal scaffolding proteins of other tailed phages and herpesviruses. The delta domain also shares other unusual properties usually found in other viral and phage scaffolding proteins, including its location on the inside of the capsid, a high predicted and measured ?-helical content, and an additional prediction for the ability to form parallel coiled-coils. Viral scaffolding proteins are essential for capsid assembly and phage viability, so we tested whether the HK97 delta domain was essential for capsid assembly. We studied the effects of deleting all or parts of the delta domain on capsid assembly and on complementation of capsid-protein-defective phage, and our results demonstrate that the delta domain is required for HK97 capsid assembly.
Project description:A phage moron is a DNA element inserted between a pair of genes in one phage genome that are adjacent in other related phage genomes. Phage morons are commonly found within phage genomes, and in a number of cases, they have been shown to mediate phenotypic changes in the bacterial host. The temperate phage HK97 encodes a moron element, gp15, within its tail morphogenesis region that is absent in most closely related phages. We show that gp15 is actively expressed from the HK97 prophage and is responsible for providing the host cell with resistance to infection by phages HK97 and HK75, independent of repressor immunity. To identify the target(s) of this gp15-mediated resistance, we created a hybrid of HK97 and the related phage HK022. This hybrid phage revealed that the tail tube or tape measure proteins likely mediate the susceptibility of HK97 to inhibition by gp15. The N terminus of gp15 is predicted with high probability to contain a single membrane-spanning helix by several transmembrane prediction programs. Consistent with this putative membrane localization, gp15 acts to prevent the entry of phage DNA into the cytoplasm, acting in a manner reminiscent of those of several previously characterized superinfection exclusion proteins. The N terminus of gp15 and its phage homologues bear sequence similarity to YebO proteins, a family of proteins of unknown function found ubiquitously in enterobacteria. The divergence of their C termini suggests that phages have co-opted this bacterial protein and subverted its activity to their advantage.
Project description:To date, <i>Certrevirus</i> is one of two genera of bacteriophage (phage), with phages infecting <i>Pectobacterium atrosepticum</i>, an economically important phytopathogen that causes potato blackleg and soft rot disease. This study provides a detailed description of <i>Pectobacterium</i> phage CB7 (vB_PatM_CB7), which specifically infects <i>P. atrosepticum</i>. Host range, morphology, latent period, burst size and stability at different conditions of temperature and pH were examined. Analysis of its genome (142.8 kbp) shows that the phage forms a new species of <i>Certrevirus,</i> sharing sequence similarity with other members, highlighting conservation within the genus. Conserved elements include a putative early promoter like that of the <i>Escherichia coli</i> sigma70 promoter, which was found to be shared with other genus members. A number of dissimilarities were observed, relating to DNA methylation and nucleotide metabolism. Some members do not have homologues of a cytosine methylase and anaerobic nucleotide reductase subunits NrdD and NrdG, respectively. Furthermore, the genome of CB7 contains one of the largest numbers of homing endonucleases described in a single phage genome in the literature to date, with a total of 23 belonging to the HNH and LAGLIDADG families. Analysis by RT-PCR of the HNH homing endonuclease residing within introns of genes for the large terminase, DNA polymerase, ribonucleotide reductase subunits NrdA and NrdB show that they are splicing competent. Electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) was also performed on the virion of CB7, allowing the identification of 26 structural proteins-20 of which were found to be shared with the type phages of the genera of <i>Vequintavirus</i> and <i>Seunavirus.</i> The results of this study provide greater insights into the phages of the <i>Certrevirus</i> genus as well as the subfamily <i>Vequintavirinae</i>.
Project description:The terminal DNA restriction fragments (PstI-D and -B) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage D3 were ligated, cloned, and sequenced. Of the nine open reading frames in this 8.3-kb fragment, four were identified as encoding large-subunit terminase, portal, ClpP protease, and major head proteins. The portal and capsid proteins showed significant homology with proteins of the lambdoid coliphage HK97. Phage D3 was purified by CsCl equilibrium gradient centrifugation (rho = 1.533 g/ml), and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed six proteins with molecular masses of 186, 91, 79, 70, 45, and 32 kDa. The pattern was unusual, since a major band corresponding to the expected head protein (43 kDa) was missing and a significant amount of the protein was retained in the stacking gel. The amino terminus of the 186-kDa protein was sequenced, revealing that the D3 head is composed of cross-linked 31-kDa protein subunits, resulting from the proteolysis of the 43-kDa precursor. This is identical to the situation observed with coliphage HK97.