Identification of amino acid residues critical for catalysis of holliday junction resolution by Mycoplasma genitalium RecU
The RecU protein from Mycoplasma genitalium, RecUMge, is a 19.4-kDa Holliday junction (HJ) resolvase that binds in a nonspecific fashion to HJ substrates and, in the presence of Mn2+, cleaves these substrates at a specific sequence (5'-G/TC2C/TTA/GG-3'). To identify amino acid residues that are crucial for HJ binding and/or cleavage, we generated a series of 16 deletion mutants (9 N- and 7 C-terminal deletion mutants) and 31 point mutants of RecUMge. The point mutations were introduced at amino acid positions that are highly conserved among bacterial RecU-like sequences. All mutants were purified and tested for the ability to bind to, and cleave, HJ substrates. We found the five N-terminal and three C-terminal amino acid residues of RecUMgeto be dispensable for its catalytic activities. Among the 31 point mutants, 7 mutants were found to be inactive in both HJ binding and cleavage. Interestingly, in 12 other mutants, these two activities were uncoupled; while these proteins displayed HJ-binding characteristics similar to those of wild-type RecUMge, they were unable to cleave HJ substrates. Thus, 12 amino acid residues were identified (E11, K31, D57, Y58, Y66, D68, E70, K72, T74, K76, Q88, and L92) that may play either a direct or indirect role in the catalysis of HJ resolution.