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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

An alternative protein splicing mechanism for inteins lacking an N-terminal nucleophile.

Variations in the intein-mediated protein splicing mechanism are becoming more apparent as polymorphisms in conserved catalytic residues are identified. The conserved Ser or Cys at the intein N-terminus and the conserved intein penultimate His are absent in the KlbA family of inteins. These inteins were predicted to be inactive, since an N-terminal Ala cannot perform the initial reaction of the standard protein splicing pathway to yield the requisite N-terminal splice junction (thio)ester. Despite the presence of an N-terminal Ala and a penultimate Ser, the KlbA inteins splice efficiently using an alternative protein splicing mechanism. In this non-canonical pathway, the C-extein nucleophile attacks a peptide bond at the N-terminal splice junction rather than a (thio)ester bond, alleviating the need to form the initial (thio)ester at the N-terminal splice junction. The remainder of the two pathways is the same: branch resolution by Asn cyclization is followed by an acyl rearrangement to form a native peptide bond between the ligated exteins.[1]


  1. An alternative protein splicing mechanism for inteins lacking an N-terminal nucleophile. Southworth, M.W., Benner, J., Perler, F.B. EMBO J. (2000) [Pubmed]
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