The Rep68 and Rep78 proteins of adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV) are multifunctional proteins which contain overlapping amino acid sequences. They are required for viral replication and preferential integration of the AAV genome into a region of human chromosome 19. During the terminal resolution process of AAV DNA replication, these proteins make a site-specific and strand-specific endonuclease cut within the AAV inverted terminal repeat DNA. The Rep68 and Rep78 proteins also have helicase and DNA-binding activities. The endonuclease activity is believed to involve the covalent attachment of Rep68 or Rep78 at the cut site via a phosphotyrosine linkage. In an attempt to identify the active-site tyrosine residue of Rep78 and Rep68, tyrosine residues were site specifically mutated to phenylalanines by overlap extension PCR, and the resulting PCR fragments were cloned into a maltose binding protein-Rep68 fusion (MBP-Rep68delta) expression vector. The mutant MBP-Rep68delta proteins were expressed in Escherichia coli cells, purified with amylose resin, and assayed in vitro for Rep68-specific activities. Although several of the mutations disrupted the endonuclease activity, only the mutation of tyrosine 152 abrogated the endonuclease activity with no discernible effect on the helicase or DNA-binding activities. Our data therefore suggest that there are distinct active sites for the helicase and endonuclease activities
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