The bacteriophage λ excisionase (Xis) is a sequence-specific DNA binding protein required for excisive recombination. Xis binds cooperatively to two DNA sites arranged as direct repeats on the phage DNA. Efficient excision is achieved through a cooperative interaction between Xis and the host-encoded factor for inversion stimulation as well as a cooperative interaction between Xis and integrase. The secondary structure of the Xis protein was predicted to contain a typical amphipathic helix that spans residues 18 to 28. Several mutants, defective in promoting excision in vivo, were isolated with mutations at positions encoding polar amino acids in the putative helix (T. E. Numrych, R. I. Gumport, and J. F. Gardner, EMBO J. 11:3797-3806, 1992). We substituted alanines for the polar amino acids in this region. Mutant proteins with substitutions for polar amino acids in the amino-terminal region of the putative helix exhibited decreased excision in vivo and were defective in DNA binding. In addition, an alanine substitution at glutamic acid 40 also resulted in altered DNA binding. This indicates that the hydrophilic face of the α-helix and the region containing glutamic acid 40 may form the DNA binding surfaces of the Xis protein.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology