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Structural and functional characteristics of homing endonucleases

Guhan, N and Muniyappa, K (2003) Structural and functional characteristics of homing endonucleases. In: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 38 (3). pp. 199-248.

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Mobile genetic elements constitute a remarkably diverse group of nonessential selfish genes that provide no apparent function to the host. These selfish genes have been implicated in host extinction, speciation and architecture of genetic systems. Homing endonucleases, encoded by the open reading frames embedded in introns or inteins of mobile genetic elements, possess double-stranded DNA-specific endonuclease activity. They inflict sequence-specific double-strand breaks at or near the homing site in intron- or intein-less allele. Subsequently, through nonreciprocal exchange the insertion sequence (intron or intein) is transferred from an intein- or intron-containing allele to an intein- or intron-less allele. The components of host double-strand break repair pathway are thought to finish the "homing" process. Several lines of evidence suggest that homing endonucleases are capable of promoting transposition into ectopic sites within or across genomes for their survival as well as dispersal in natural populations. The occurrence of inteins at high frequencies serves as instructive models for understanding the mechanistic aspects of the process of homing and its evolution. This review focuses on genetic, biochemical, structural, and phylogenetic aspects of homing endonucleases, and their comparison with restriction endonucleases.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publisher: Informa plc
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Informa plc.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2010 05:40
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:55
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/25623

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