Does the proposed DSE motif form the active center in the Hermes transposase?

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TitleDoes the proposed DSE motif form the active center in the Hermes transposase?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsMichel, K, O'Brochta, DA, Atkinson, PW
Date Published2002 Oct 2
KeywordsAmino Acid Motifs, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, DNA Transposable Elements, Drosophila melanogaster, Escherichia coli, Mutagenesis, Insertional, Mutation, Plasmids, Transposases

Donor cleavage and strand transfer are two functions performed by transposases during transposition of class II transposable elements. Within transposable elements, the only active center described, to date, facilitating both functions, is the so-called DDE motif. A second motif, R-K-H/K-R-H/W-Y, is found in the site-specific recombinases of the tyrosine recombinase family. While present in many bacterial insertion sequences as well as in the eukaryotic family of mariner/Tc1 elements, the DDE motif was considered absent in other classes of eukaryotic class II elements such as P, and hAT and piggyBac. Based on sequence alignments of a hobo-like element from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, to a variety of other hAT transposases and several members of the mariner/Tc1 group, Bigot et al. [Gene 174 (1996) 265] proposed the presence of a DSE motif in hAT transposases. In the present study we tested if each of these three residues is required for transposition of the Hermes element, a member of the hAT family commonly used for insect transformation. While D402N and E572Q mutations lead to knock-out of Hermes function, mutations S535A and S535D did not affect transposition frequency or the choice of integration sites. These data give the first experimental support that D402 and E572 are indeed required for transposition of Hermes. Furthermore, this study indicates that the active center of the Hermes transposase differs from the proposed DSE motif. It remains to be shown if other residues also form the active site of this transposase.

Alternate JournalGene
PubMed ID12426102
Grant ListAI 45741 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
GM 48102 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States