Homing endonucleases: keeping the house in order

Nucleic Acids Res. 1997 Sep 1;25(17):3379-88. doi: 10.1093/nar/25.17.3379.


Homing endonucleases are rare-cutting enzymes encoded by introns and inteins. They have striking structural and functional properties that distinguish them from restriction enzymes. Nomenclature conventions analogous to those for restriction enzymes have been developed for the homing endonucleases. Recent progress in understanding the structure and function of the four families of homing enzymes is reviewed. Of particular interest are the first reported structures of homing endonucleases of the LAGLIDADG family. The exploitation of the homing enzymes in genome analysis and recombination research is also summarized. Finally, the evolution of homing endonucleases is considered, both at the structure-function level and in terms of their persistence in widely divergent biological systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Deoxyribonucleases* / chemistry
  • Deoxyribonucleases* / metabolism
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific / chemistry
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Terminology as Topic


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Deoxyribonucleases
  • SCEI protein, S cerevisiae
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific