CTnDOT is a Bacteroides conjugative transposon (CTn) that has facilitated the spread of antibiotic resistances among bacteria in the human gut in recent years. Although the integrase encoded by CTnDOT (IntDOT) carries the C-terminal set of conserved amino acids that is characteristic of the tyrosine family of recombinases, the reaction it catalyzes involves a novel step that creates a short region of heterology at the joined ends of the element during recombination. Also, in contrast to tyrosine recombinases, IntDOT catalyzes a reaction that is not site specific. To determine what types of contacts IntDOT makes with the DNA during excision and integration, we first developed an agarose gel-based assay for CTnDOT recombination, which facilitated the purification of the native IntDOT protein. The partially purified IntDOT was then used for DNase I footprinting analysis of the integration site at attDOT and the excision sites attL and attR. Our results indicate that CTnDOT has five or six arm sites that are likely to be involved in forming higher-order nucleoprotein complexes necessary for synapsis. In addition, there are four core sites that flank the sites of strand exchange during recombination. Thus, despite the fact that the reaction catalyzed by IntDOT appears to be different from that typically catalyzed by tyrosine recombinases, the protein-DNA interactions required for higher-order structures and recombination appear to be similar.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology