Activity, specificity and structure of I-Bth0305I: a representative of a new homing endonuclease family

Gregory K. Taylor, Daniel F. Heiter, Shmuel Pietrokovski, Barry L. Stoddard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Novel family of putative homing endonuclease genes was recently discovered during analyses of metagenomic and genomic sequence data. One such protein is encoded within a group I intron that resides in the recA gene of the Bacillus thuringiensis 0305 phi 8-36 bacteriophage. Named I-Bth0305I, the endonuclease cleaves a DNA target in the uninterrupted recA gene at a position immediately adjacent to the intron insertion site. The enzyme displays a multidomain, homodimeric architecture and footprints a DNA region of similar to 60 bp. Its highest specificity corresponds to a 14-bp pseudopalindromic sequence that is directly centered across the DNA cleavage site. Unlike many homing endonucleases, the specificity profile of the enzyme is evenly distributed across much of its target site, such that few single base pair substitutions cause a significant decrease in cleavage activity. A crystal structure of its C-terminal domain confirms a nuclease fold that is homologous to very short patch repair (Vsr) endonucleases. The domain architecture and DNA recognition profile displayed by I-Bth0305I, which is the prototype of a homing lineage that we term the 'EDxHD' family, are distinct from previously characterized homing endonucleases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9705-9719
Number of pages15
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Dec 2011


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