Characterization of the Escherichia coli F factor traY gene product and its binding sites
The traY gene product (TraYp) from the Escherichia coli F factor has previously been purified and shown to bind a DNA fragment containing the F plasmid oriT region (E. E. Lahue and S. W. Matson, J. Bacteriol. 172:1385-1391, 1990). To determine the precise nucleotide sequence bound by TraYp, DNase I footprinting was performed. The TraYp-binding site is near, but not coincident with, the site that is nicked to initiate conjugative DNA transfer. In addition, a second TraYp binding site, which is
... ng site, which is coincident with the mRNA start site at the traYI promoter, is described. The Kd for each binding site was determined by a gel mobility shift assay. TraYp exhibits a fivefold higher affinity for the oriT binding site compared with the traYI promoter binding site. Hydrodynamic studies were performed to show that TraYp is a monomer in solution under the conditions used in DNA binding assays. Early genetic experiments implicated the traY gene product in the site- and strand-specific endonuclease activity that nicks at oriT (R. Everett and N. Willetts, J. Mol. Biol. 136:129-150, 1980; S. McIntire and N. Willetts, Mol. Gen. Genet. 178:165-172, 1980). As this activity has recently been ascribed to helicase I, it was of interest to see whether TraYp had any effect on this reaction. Addition of TraYp to nicking reactions catalyzed by helicase I showed no effect on the rate or efficiency of oriT nicking. Roles for TraYp in conjugative DNA transfer and a possible mode of binding to DNA are discussed.