PY54, a linear plasmid prophage of Yersinia enterocolitica with covalently closed ends.
Hertwig S, Klein I, Lurz R, Lanka E, Appel B
Molecular Microbiology (2003)
Category: telomere resolvase or protelomerase ¤ Added: Oct 07, 2003 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
PY54 is a temperate phage isolated from Yersinia enterocolitica. Lysogenic Yersinia strains harbour the PY54 prophage as a plasmid (pY54). The plasmid has the same size (46 kb) as the PY54 genome isolated from phage particles. By electron microscopy, restriction analysis and DNA sequencing, it was demonstrated that the phage and the plasmid DNAs are linear, circularly permuted molecules. Unusually for phages of Gram-negative bacteria, the phage genome has 3'-protruding ends. The linear plasmid pY54 has covalently closed ends forming telomere-like hairpins. The equivalent DNA sequence of the phage genome is a 42 bp perfect palindrome. Downstream from the palindrome, an open reading frame (ORF) was identified that revealed strong DNA homology to the telN gene of Escherichia coli phage N15 encoding a protelomerase. Similar to PY54, the N15 prophage is a linear plasmid with telomeres. The N15 protelomerase has cleaving/joining activity generating the telomeres by processing a 56 bp palindrome (telomere resolution site tel RL). To study the activity of the PY54 protein, the telN-like gene was cloned and expressed in E. coli. A 77 kDa protein was obtained and partially purified. The protein was found to process recombinant plasmids containing the 42 bp palindrome. Telomere resolution of plasmids under in vivo conditions was also investigated in Yersinia infected with PY54. Processing required a plasmid containing the palindrome as well as adjacent DNA sequences from the phage including an additional inverted repeat. Regions on the phage genome important for plasmid maintenance were defined by the construction of linear and circular miniplasmid derivatives of pY54, of which the smallest miniplasmid comprises a 4.5 kb DNA fragment of the plasmid prophage.