CTnDOT integrase (IntDOT) is a member of the tyrosine family of site-specific DNA recombinases. IntDOT is unusual in that it catalyzes recombination between nonidentical sequences. Previous mutational analyses centered on mutants with substitutions of conserved residues in the catalytic (CAT) domain or residues predicted by homology modeling to be close to DNA in the core-binding (CB) domain. That work suggested that a conserved active-site residue (Arg I) of the CAT domain is missing and that some residues in the CB domain are involved in catalysis. Here we used a genetic approach and constructed an Escherichia coli indicator strain to screen for random mutations in IntDOT that disrupt integrative recombination in vivo. Twenty-five IntDOT mutants were isolated and characterized for DNA binding, DNA cleavage, and DNA ligation activities. We found that mutants with substitutions in the amino-terminal (N) domain were catalytically active but defective in forming nucleoprotein complexes, suggesting that they have altered protein-protein interactions or altered interactions with DNA. Replacement of Ala-352 of the CAT domain disrupted DNA cleavage but not DNA ligation, suggesting that Ala-352 may be important for positioning the catalytic tyrosine (Tyr-381) during cleavage. Interestingly, our biochemical data and homology modeling of the CAT domain suggest that Arg-285 is the missing Arg I residue of IntDOT. The predicted position of Arg-285 shows it entering the active site from a position on the polypeptide backbone that is not utilized in other tyrosine recombinases. IntDOT may therefore employ a novel active-site architecture to catalyze recombination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology