Relating primary structure to function in the Escherichia coli XerD site-specific recombinase

Andrew J. Spiers, David J. Sherratt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


XerC and XerD are related 298-amino-acid site-specific recombinases, each of which is responsible for the exchange of one pair of strands in Xer recombination. Both recombinases encode functions necessary for sequence- specific DNA-binding, co-operative XerC/D interactions, synapsis and catalysis. These functions were related to the primary amino acid sequence by constructing and analysing internal and C-terminal XerD deletions. An XerD derivative containing residues 1-233 was proficient in specific DNA binding, but did not interact co-operatively with XerC. Deletion of a further five C- terminal amino acids abolished binding to DNA. Proteins deleted for residues 32-88 and for residues 145-159 were deficient in DNA binding. Deletion of residues 244-281, a region containing amino acids necessary for catalysis, gave a protein that bound to DNA. An XerD derivative containing residues 1- 268 retained co-operative interactions with XerC; nevertheless, it did not support XerC strand exchange and was defective in XerD catalysis. Residues 1- 283 retain a functional catalytic active site, though a protein lacking the five C-terminal amino acids was still unable to mediate normal in vivo recombination, indicating that these residues are needed for a function that is not directly related to DNA binding or catalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1082
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


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