We report that Haemophilus influenzae encodes a 268 amino acid ATP-dependent DNA ligase. The specificity of Haemophilus DNA ligase was investigated using recombinant protein produced in Escherichia coli. The enzyme catalyzed efficient strand joining on a singly nicked DNA in the presence of magnesium and ATP (K(m) = 0.2 μM). Other nucleoside triphosphates or deoxynucleoside triphosphates could not substitute for ATP. Haemophilus ligase reacted with ATP in the absence of DNA substrate to form a covalent ligaseadenylate intermediate. This nucleotidyl transferase reaction required a divalent cation and was specific for ATP. The Haemophilus enzyme is the first example of an ATP-dependent DNA ligase encoded by a eubacterial genome. It is also the smallest member of the covalent nucleotidyl transferase superfamily, which includes the bacteriophage and eukaryotic ATP-dependent polynucleotide ligases and the GTP-dependent RNA capping enzymes.
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