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

Reversible inhibition of protein splicing by zinc ion.

Protein splicing involves the self-catalyzed excision of a protein-splicing element, the intein, from flanking polypeptides, the exteins, which are concomitantly joined by a peptide bond. Taking advantage of recently developed in vitro systems in which protein splicing occurs in trans to assay for protein-splicing inhibitors, we discovered that low concentrations of Zn(2+) inhibited splicing mediated both by the RecA intein from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and by the naturally split DnaE intein from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803. Inhibition by Zn(2+) was also observed with a cis-splicing system involving the RecA intein. In all experimental systems used, inhibition by Zn(2+) could be completely reversed by the addition of EDTA. Zinc ion also inhibited hydroxylamine-dependent N-terminal cleavage of the RecA intein. All other divalent transition metal ions tested were less effective as inhibitors than Zn(2+). The reversible inhibition by Zn(2+) should be useful in studies of the mechanism of protein splicing and allow structural studies of unmodified protein-splicing precursors.[1]


  1. Reversible inhibition of protein splicing by zinc ion. Mills, K.V., Paulus, H. J. Biol. Chem. (2001) [Pubmed]
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