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Crystal structure of NucB, a biofilm-degrading endonuclease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Arnaud Basle, Dr Lorraine Hewitt, Dr Alan KohORCiD, Dr Heather Lamb, Paul Thompson, Professor Grant Burgess, Dr Michael HallORCiD, Professor Alastair Hawkins, Professor Heath Murray, Professor Rick Lewis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Bacterial biofilms are a complex architecture of cells that grow on moist interfaces, and are held together by a molecular glue of extracellular proteins, sugars, and nucleic acids. Biofilms are particularly problematic in human healthcare as they can coat medical implants and are thus a potential source of disease. Enzymatic dispersal of biofilm is increasingly being developed as a new strategy to treat this problem. Here we have characterised NucB, a biofilm-dispersing nuclease from a marine strain of Bacillus licheniformis, and present its crystal structure together with the biochemistry and a mutational analysis required to confirm its active site. Taken together, these data support the categorisation of NucB into a unique subfamily of the ββα metal-dependent non-specific endonucleases. Understanding the structure and function of NucB will facilitate its future development into an anti-biofilm therapeutic agent.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Basle A, Hewitt L, Koh A, Lamb HK, Thompson P, Burgess JG, Hall MJ, Hawkins AR, Murray H, Lewis RJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nucleic Acids Research

Year: 2018

Volume: 46

Issue: 1

Pages: 473-484

Print publication date: 09/01/2018

Online publication date: 20/11/2017

Acceptance date: 08/11/2017

Date deposited: 21/11/2017

ISSN (print): 0305-1048

ISSN (electronic): 1362-4962

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkx1170


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/I00761X/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
NE/I01523X/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)