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Control of serine integrase recombination directionality by fusion with the directionality factor

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  • Femi J Olorunniji
  • Arlene L McPherson
  • Susan J Rosser
  • Margaret C M Smith
  • Sean D Colloms
  • W Marshall Stark


Publication details

JournalNucleic Acids Research
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Jun 2017
DatePublished (current) - 29 Jun 2017
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1-11
Original languageEnglish


Bacteriophage serine integrases are extensively used in biotechnology and synthetic biology for assembly and rearrangement of DNA sequences. Serine integrases promote recombination between two different DNA sites, attP and attB, to form recombinant attL and attR sites. The 'reverse' reaction requires another phage-encoded protein called the recombination directionality factor (RDF) in addition to integrase; RDF activates attL × attR recombination and inhibits attP × attB recombination. We show here that serine integrases can be fused to their cognate RDFs to create single proteins that catalyse efficient attL × attR recombination in vivo and in vitro, whereas attP × attB recombination efficiency is reduced. We provide evidence that activation of attL × attR recombination involves intra-subunit contacts between the integrase and RDF moieties of the fusion protein. Minor changes in the length and sequence of the integrase-RDF linker peptide did not affect fusion protein recombination activity. The efficiency and single-protein convenience of integrase-RDF fusion proteins make them potentially very advantageous for biotechnology/synthetic biology applications. Here, we demonstrate efficient gene cassette replacement in a synthetic metabolic pathway gene array as a proof of principle.

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© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

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