Integron-encoded IntI integrases preferentially recognize the adjacent cognate attI site in recombination with a 59-be site

Mol Microbiol. 2002 Dec;46(5):1415-27. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2002.03260.x.


Integrons have the capacity to capture small mobile elements known as gene cassettes, and this reaction is catalysed by integron-encoded IntI integrases. IntI integrases form a distinct family within the tyrosine recombinase superfamily and include a characteristic additional domain that is well conserved. Two different IntI enzymes were used to examine their ability to recognize heterologous attI sites in both integration and excision assays. IntI1 and IntI3 are 59% identical and catalyse both integrative and excisive recombination between a cassette-associated 59-be site and the cognate attI1 or attI3 site. Integrative recombination events involving a 59-be and a non-cognate attI site, attI2 and attI3 for IntI1 or attI1 and attI2 for IntI3, were detected extremely rarely. In cassette excision assays, the non-cognate attI3 site was recognized by IntI1, but attI1 was not well recognized by IntI3. The purified IntI1 and IntI3 proteins bound strongly only to their cognate attI site.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Attachment Sites, Microbiological / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Integrases / metabolism*
  • Integrons / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Integrases
  • integron integrase IntI1

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M95287