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

The structure of bacteriophage T7 lysozyme, a zinc amidase and an inhibitor of T7 RNA polymerase.

The lysozyme of bacteriophage T7 is a bifunctional protein that cuts amide bonds in the bacterial cell wall and binds to and inhibits transcription by T7 RNA polymerase. The structure of a mutant T7 lysozyme has been determined by x-ray crystallography and refined at 2.2-A resolution. The protein folds into an alpha/beta-sheet structure that has a prominent cleft. A zinc atom is located in the cleft, bound directly to three amino acids and, through a water molecule, to a fourth. Zinc is required for amidase activity but not for inhibition of T7 RNA polymerase. Alignment of the zinc ligands of T7 lysozyme with those of carboxypeptidase A and thermolysin suggests structural similarity among the catalytic sites for the amidase and these zinc proteases. Mutational analysis identified presumed catalytic residues for amidase activity within the cleft and a surface that appears to be the site of binding to T7 RNA polymerase. Binding of T7 RNA polymerase inhibits amidase activity.[1]


  1. The structure of bacteriophage T7 lysozyme, a zinc amidase and an inhibitor of T7 RNA polymerase. Cheng, X., Zhang, X., Pflugrath, J.W., Studier, F.W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1994) [Pubmed]
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