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Argonaute of the archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus is a DNA-guided nuclease that targets cognate DNA.*

Posted by on in 2015
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Swarts DC1Hegge JW1Hinojo I1Shiimori M2Ellis MA2Dumrongkulraksa J2Terns RM2Terns MP2van der Oost J3. 2015. Nucleic Acids Res. 43(10):5120-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv415. Epub 2015 Apr 29.
1Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands.
2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.
3Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands


Functions of prokaryotic Argonautes (pAgo) have long remained elusive. Recently, Argonautes of the bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Thermus thermophilus were demonstrated to be involved in host defense. The Argonaute of the archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (PfAgo) belongs to a different branch in the phylogenetic tree, which is most closely related to that of RNA interference-mediating eukaryotic Argonautes. Here we describe a functional and mechanistic characterization of PfAgo. Like the bacterial counterparts, archaeal PfAgo contributes to host defense by interfering with the uptake of plasmid DNA. PfAgo utilizes small 5'-phosphorylated DNA guides to cleave both single stranded and double stranded DNA targets, and does not utilize RNA as guide or target. Thus, with respect to function and specificity, the archaeal PfAgo resembles bacterial Argonautes much more than eukaryotic Argonautes. These findings demonstrate that the role of Argonautes is conserved through the bacterial and archaeal domains of life and suggests that eukaryotic Argonautes are derived from DNA-guided DNA-interfering host defense systems.

© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

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*Note:  Secondary antibodies (HRP-Donkey anti-Chicken IgY) used in this publication were manufactured by Gallus Immunotech Inc.


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