Structure-Function Studies of Bacteriophage P2 Integrase and Cox protein

by Eriksson, Jesper

Abstract (Summary)
Probably no group of organisms has been as important as bacteriophages when it comes to the understanding of fundamental biological processes like transcriptional control, DNA replication, site-specific recombination, e.t.c.The work presented in this thesis is a contribution towards the complete understanding of these organisms. Two proteins, integrase, and Cox, which are important for the choice of the life mode of bacteriophage P2, are investigated. P2 is a temperate phage, i.e. it can either insert its DNA into the host chromosome (by site-specific recombination) and wait (lysogeny), or it can produce new progeny with the help of the host protein machinery and thereafter lyse the cell (lytic cycle). The integrase protein is necessary for the integration and excision of the phage genome. The Cox protein is involved as a directional factor in the site-specific recombination, where it stimulates excision and inhibits integration. It has been shown that the Cox protein also is important for the choice of the lytic cycle. The choice of life mode is regulated on a transcriptional level, where two mutually exclusive promoters direct whether the lytic cycle (Pe) or lysogeny (Pc) is chosen. The Cox pro-tein has been shown to repress the Pc promoter and thereby making tran-scription from the Pe promoter possible, leading to the lytic cycle. Further, the Cox protein can function as a transcriptional activator on the parasite phage, P4. P4 has gained the ability to adopt the P2 protein machinery to its own purposes.In this work the importance of the native size for biologically active integrase and Cox proteins has been determined. Further, structure-function analyses of the two proteins have been performed with focus on the protein-protein interfaces. In addition it is shown that P2 Cox and the P2 relative Wphi Cox changes the DNA topology upon specific binding. From the obtained results a mechanism for P2 Cox-DNA interaction is discussed.The results from this thesis can be used in the development of a gene delivery system based on the P2 site-specific recombination system.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Cell and molecular biology; Genetics; Bacteriophage P2; site-specific recombination; integrase; transcriptional switch


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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