Probing Flp: a new approach to analyze the structure of a DNA recognizing protein by combining the genetic algorithm, mutagenesis and non-canonical DNA target sites.
A topological and functional overview of a DNA recognition protein with unknown structure can be achieved by combining three different, but complementary approaches: modeling by the genetic algorithm, functional analysis of mutated variants, and testing the target DNA using non-canonical oligonucleotides. As an example we choose the Flp protein, a site-specific recombinase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We derive the topological outline including the DNA binding cleft, examine DNA binding regions by deletional and mutational analysis, and analyze the DNA binding site using 7-deazaadenine, 7-deazaguanine, inosine and 4-O-methylthymine as probes. The combined data offer a comprehensive sketch of a plausible protein architecture for Flp. The structure is detailed enough to verify the prediction accuracy for different peptide regions from pre-existing data and by new experimental design.