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Crystal structure of NucB, a biofilm-degrading endonuclease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Arnaud Basle, Dr Lorraine Hewitt, Dr Heather Lamb, Paul Thompson, Professor Grant Burgess, Dr Michael Hall, 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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