SURVEY AND SUMMARY: holliday junction resolvases and related nucleases: identification of new families, phyletic distribution and evolutionary trajectories

Nucleic Acids Research
L AravindE V Koonin

Abstract

Holliday junction resolvases (HJRs) are key enzymes of DNA recombination. A detailed computer analysis of the structural and evolutionary relationships of HJRs and related nucleases suggests that the HJR function has evolved independently from at least four distinct structural folds, namely RNase H, endonuclease, endonuclease VII-colicin E and RusA. The endonuclease fold, whose structural prototypes are the phage lambda exonuclease, the very short patch repair nuclease (Vsr) and type II restriction enzymes, is shown to encompass by far a greater diversity of nucleases than previously suspected. This fold unifies archaeal HJRs, repair nucleases such as RecB and Vsr, restriction enzymes and a variety of predicted nucleases whose specific activities remain to be determined. Within the RNase H fold a new family of predicted HJRs, which is nearly ubiquitous in bacteria, was discovered, in addition to the previously characterized RuvC family. The proteins of this family, typified by Escherichia coli YqgF, are likely to function as an alternative to RuvC in most bacteria, but could be the principal HJRs in low-GC Gram-positive bacteria and AQUIFEX: Endonuclease VII of phage T4 is shown to serve as a structural template for many nuclea...Continue Reading

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