The YaeQ family of proteins are found in many Gram-negative and a few Gram-positive bacteria. We have determined the first structure of a member of the YaeQ family by X-ray crystallography. Comparisons with other structures indicate that YaeQ represents a new compact protein fold built around a variation of the PD-(D/E)XK nuclease motif found in type II endonucleases and enzymes involved in DNA replication, repair, and recombination. We show that catalytically important residues in the PD-(D/E)XK nuclease superfamily are spatially conserved in YaeQ and other highly conserved YaeQ residues may be poised to interact with nucleic acid structures.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.