Structural domains of IS10 transposase and reconstitution of transposition activity from proteolytic fragments lacking an interdomain linker

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Aug 29;92(18):8234-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.92.18.8234.


All of the DNA cleavage and strand transfer events required for transposition of insertion sequence IS10 are carried out by a 46-kDa IS10-encoded transposase protein. Limited proteolysis demonstrates that transposase has two principal structural domains, a 28-kDa N-terminal domain (N alpha beta; aa 1-246) and a 17-kDa C-terminal domain (C; aa 256-402). The two domains are connected by a 1-kDa proteolytic-sensitive linker region (aa 247-255). The N-terminal domain N alpha beta can be further subdivided into domains N alpha and N beta by a weaker protease-sensitive site located 6 kDa (53 aa) from the N terminus. The N beta and N alpha beta fragments are capable of nonspecific DNA binding as determined by Southwestern blot analysis. None of the fragments alone is capable of carrying out the first step of transposition, assembly of a synaptic complex containing a pair of transposon ends. Remarkably, complete transposition activity can be reconstituted by mixing fragment N alpha beta and fragment C, with or without the intervening linker region. We infer that the structural integrity of transposase during the transitions involved in the chemical steps of the transposition reaction is maintained independent of the linker, presumably by direct contacts between and among the principal domains. Reconstitution of activity in the absence of the linker region is puzzling, however, because mutations that block strand transfer or affect insertion specificity alter linker region residues. Additional reconstitution experiments demonstrate that the N alpha region is dispensable for formation of a synaptic complex but is required for complexes to undergo cleavage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / chemistry*
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Transposases*
  • Trypsin / chemistry


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • DNA
  • IS10 transposase
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Transposases
  • Trypsin