A putative mobile genetic element carrying a novel type IIF restriction-modification system (PluTI).
ABSTRACT: Genome comparison and genome context analysis were used to find a putative mobile element in the genome of Photorhabdus luminescens, an entomopathogenic bacterium. The element is composed of 16-bp direct repeats in the terminal regions, which are identical to a part of insertion sequences (ISs), a DNA methyltransferase gene homolog, two genes of unknown functions and an open reading frame (ORF) (plu0599) encoding a protein with no detectable sequence similarity to any known protein. The ORF (plu0599) product showed DNA endonuclease activity, when expressed in a cell-free expression system. Subsequently, the protein, named R.PluTI, was expressed in vivo, purified and found to be a novel type IIF restriction enzyme that recognizes 5'-GGCGC/C-3' (/ indicates position of cleavage). R.PluTI cleaves a two-site supercoiled substrate at both the sites faster than a one-site supercoiled substrate. The modification enzyme homolog encoded by plu0600, named M.PluTI, was expressed in Escherichia coli and shown to protect DNA from R.PluTI cleavage in vitro, and to suppress the lethal effects of R.PluTI expression in vivo. These results suggested that they constitute a restriction-modification system, present on the putative mobile element. Our approach thus allowed detection of a previously uncharacterized family of DNA-interacting proteins.
Project description:The reaction of the EcoRI restriction endonuclease was studied with both the plasmid pMB9 and DNA from bacteriophage lambda as the substrates. With both circular and linear DNA molecules, the only reaction catalysed by the EcoRI restriction endonuclease was the hydrolysis of the phosphodiester bond within one strand of the recognition site on the DNA duplex. The cleavage of both strands of the duplex was achieved only after two independent reactions, each involving a single-strand scission. The reactivity of the enzyme for single-strand scissions was the same for both the first and the second cleavage within its recognition site. No differences were observed between the mechanism of action on supercoiled and linear DNA substrates. Other restriction endonucleases were tested against plasmid pMB9. The HindIII restriction endonuclease cleaved DNA in the same manner as the EcoRI enzyme. However, in contrast with EcoRI, the Sa/I and the BamHI restriction endonucleases appeared to cleave both strands of the DNA duplex almost simultaneously. The function of symmetrical DNA sequences and the conformation of the DNA involved in these DNA--protein interactions are discussed in the light of these observations. The fact that the same reactions were observed on both supercoiled and linear DNA substrates implies that these interactions do not involve the unwinding of the duplex before catalysis.
Project description:The cleavage of supercoiled DNA of plasmid pMB9 by restriction endonuclease SalGI has been studied. Under the optimal conditions for this reaction, the only product is the linear form of the DNA, in which both strands of the duplex have been cleaved at the SalGI recognition site. DNA molecules cleaved in one strand at this site were found to be poor substrates for the SalGI enzyme. Thus, both strands of the DNA appear to be cleaved in a concerted reaction. However, under other conditions, the enzyme cleaves either one or both strands of the DNA; the supercoiled substrate is then converted to either open-circle or linear forms, the two being produced simultaneously rather than consecutively. We propose a mechanism for the SalGI restriction endonuclease which accounts for the reactions of this enzyme under both optimal and other conditions. These reactions were unaffected by the tertiary structure of the DNA.
Project description:Many DNA regulatory factors require communication between distantly separated DNA sites for their activity. The type IIF restriction enzyme SfiI is often used as a model system of site communication. Here, we used fast-scanning atomic force microscopy to monitor the DNA cleavage process with SfiI and the changes in the single SfiI-DNA complex in the presence of either Mg²? or Ca²? at a scan rate of 1-2 fps. The increased time resolution allowed us to visualize the concerted cleavage of the protein at two cognate sites. The four termini generated by the cleavage were released in a multistep manner. The high temporal resolution enabled us to visualize the translocation of a DNA strand on a looped complex and intersegmental transfer of the SfiI protein in which swapping of the site is performed without protein dissociation. On the basis of our results, we propose that the SfiI tetramer can remain bound to one of the sites even after cleavage, allowing the other site on the DNA molecule to fill the empty DNA-binding cleft by combining a one-dimensional diffusion-mediated sliding and a segment transfer mechanism.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Alteration in epigenetic methylation can affect gene expression and other processes. In Prokaryota, DNA methyltransferase genes frequently move between genomes and present a potential threat. A methyl-specific deoxyribonuclease, McrBC, of Escherichia coli cuts invading methylated DNAs. Here we examined whether McrBC competes with genome methylation systems through host killing by chromosome cleavage.<h4>Results</h4>McrBC inhibited the establishment of a plasmid carrying a PvuII methyltransferase gene but lacking its recognition sites, likely through the lethal cleavage of chromosomes that became methylated. Indeed, its phage-mediated transfer caused McrBC-dependent chromosome cleavage. Its induction led to cell death accompanied by chromosome methylation, cleavage and degradation. RecA/RecBCD functions affect chromosome processing and, together with the SOS response, reduce lethality. Our evolutionary/genomic analyses of McrBC homologs revealed: a wide distribution in Prokaryota; frequent distant horizontal transfer and linkage with mobility-related genes; and diversification in the DNA binding domain. In these features, McrBCs resemble type II restriction-modification systems, which behave as selfish mobile elements, maintaining their frequency by host killing. McrBCs are frequently found linked with a methyltransferase homolog, which suggests a functional association.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our experiments indicate McrBC can respond to genome methylation systems by host killing. Combined with our evolutionary/genomic analyses, they support our hypothesis that McrBCs have evolved as mobile elements competing with specific genome methylation systems through host killing. To our knowledge, this represents the first report of a defense system against epigenetic systems through cell death.
Project description:Type IB topoisomerases unwind positive and negative DNA supercoils and play a key role in removing supercoils that would otherwise accumulate at replication and transcription forks. An interesting question is whether topoisomerase activity is regulated by the topological state of the DNA, thereby providing a mechanism for targeting the enzyme to highly supercoiled DNA domains in genomes. The type IB enzyme from variola virus (vTopo) has proven to be useful in addressing mechanistic questions about topoisomerase function because it forms a reversible 3'-phosphotyrosyl adduct with the DNA backbone at a specific target sequence (5'-CCCTT-3') from which DNA unwinding can proceed. We have synthesized supercoiled DNA minicircles (MCs) containing a single vTopo target site that provides highly defined substrates for exploring the effects of supercoil density on DNA binding, strand cleavage and ligation, and unwinding. We observed no topological dependence for binding of vTopo to these supercoiled MC DNAs, indicating that affinity-based targeting to supercoiled DNA regions by vTopo is unlikely. Similarly, the cleavage and religation rates of the MCs were not topologically dependent, but topoisomers with low superhelical densities were found to unwind more slowly than highly supercoiled topoisomers, suggesting that reduced torque at low superhelical densities leads to an increased number of cycles of cleavage and ligation before a successful unwinding event. The K271E charge reversal mutant has an impaired interaction with the rotating DNA segment that leads to an increase in the number of supercoils that were unwound per cleavage event. This result provides evidence that interactions of the enzyme with the rotating DNA segment can restrict the number of supercoils that are unwound. We infer that both superhelical density and transient contacts between vTopo and the rotating DNA determine the efficiency of supercoil unwinding. Such determinants are likely to be important in regulating the steady-state superhelical density of DNA domains in the cell.
Project description:The nucleoid-associated protein, StpA, of Escherichia coli binds non-specifically to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and apparently forms bridges between adjacent segments of the DNA. Such a coating of protein on the DNA would be expected to hinder the action of nucleases. We demonstrate that StpA binding hinders dsDNA cleavage by both the non-specific endonuclease, DNase I, and by the site-specific type I restriction endonuclease, EcoKI. It requires approximately one StpA molecule per 250-300 bp of supercoiled DNA and approximately one StpA molecule per 60-100 bp on linear DNA for strong inhibition of the nucleases. These results support the role of StpA as a nucleoid-structuring protein which binds DNA segments together. The inhibition of EcoKI, which cleaves DNA at a site remote from its initial target sequence after extensive DNA translocation driven by ATP hydrolysis, suggests that these enzymes would be unable to function on chromosomal DNA even during times of DNA damage when potentially lethal, unmodified target sites occur on the chromosome. This supports a role for nucleoid-associated proteins in restriction alleviation during times of cell stress.
Project description:The reactions of the EcoRI restriction endonuclease on the covalently closed DNA of plasmid pMB9 were studied in the presence of ethidium bromide. At the concentrations of ethidium bromide tested, which covered the range over which the DNA is changed from negatively to positively supercoiled, the dye caused no alteration to the rate at which this enzyme cleaved the covalently closed DNA to yield the open-circle form, but the rate at which these open circles were cleaved to the linear product could be inhibited. The fluorescence change, caused by ethidium bromide binding with different stoichiometries to covalently closed and open-circle DNA, provided a direct and sensitive signal for monitoring the cleavage of DNA by this enzyme. This method was used for a steady-state kinetic analysis of the reaction catalysed by the EcoRI restriction enzyme. Reaction mechanisms where a complex between DNA and Mg2+ is the substrate for this enzyme were eliminated, and instead DNA and Mg2+ must bind to the enzyme in separate stages. The requisite controls for this fluorimetric assay in both steady-state and transient kinetics studies, and its application to other enzymes that alter the structure of covalently closed DNA, are described.
Project description:Although bacterial gyrase and topoisomerase IV have critical interactions with positively supercoiled DNA, little is known about the actions of these enzymes on overwound substrates. Therefore, the abilities of Bacillus anthracis and Escherichia coli gyrase and topoisomerase IV to relax and cleave positively supercoiled DNA were analyzed. Gyrase removed positive supercoils ?10-fold more rapidly and more processively than it introduced negative supercoils into relaxed DNA. In time-resolved single-molecule measurements, gyrase relaxed overwound DNA with burst rates of ?100 supercoils per second (average burst size was 6.2 supercoils). Efficient positive supercoil removal required the GyrA-box, which is necessary for DNA wrapping. Topoisomerase IV also was able to distinguish DNA geometry during strand passage and relaxed positively supercoiled substrates ?3-fold faster than negatively supercoiled molecules. Gyrase maintained lower levels of cleavage complexes with positively supercoiled (compared with negatively supercoiled) DNA, whereas topoisomerase IV generated similar levels with both substrates. Results indicate that gyrase is better suited than topoisomerase IV to safely remove positive supercoils that accumulate ahead of replication forks. They also suggest that the wrapping mechanism of gyrase may have evolved to promote rapid removal of positive supercoils, rather than induction of negative supercoils.
Project description:TrwC, the relaxase of plasmid R388, catalyzes a series of concerted DNA cleavage and strand transfer reactions on a specific site (nic) of its origin of transfer (oriT). nic contains the cleavage site and an adjacent inverted repeat (IR(2)). Mutation analysis in the nic region indicated that recognition of the IR(2) proximal arm and the nucleotides located between IR(2) and the cleavage site were essential for supercoiled DNA processing, as judged either by in vitro nic cleavage or by mobilization of a plasmid containing oriT. Formation of the IR(2) cruciform and recognition of the distal IR(2) arm and loop were not necessary for these reactions to take place. On the other hand, IR(2) was not involved in TrwC single-stranded DNA processing in vitro. For single-stranded DNA nic cleavage, TrwC recognized a sequence embracing six nucleotides upstream of the cleavage site and two nucleotides downstream. This suggests that TrwC DNA binding and cleavage are two distinguishable steps in conjugative DNA processing and that different sequence elements are recognized by TrwC in each step. IR(2)-proximal arm recognition was crucial for the initial supercoiled DNA binding. Subsequent recognition of the adjacent single-stranded DNA binding site was required to position the cleavage site in the active center of the protein so that the nic cleavage reaction could take place.
Project description:The topoisomerase (topo) III enzymes are found in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans, yet the precise cellular function of these enzymes remains to be determined. We previously found that Drosophila topo IIIbeta can relax plasmid DNA only if the DNA is first hypernegatively supercoiled. To investigate the possibility that topo IIIbeta requires a single-stranded region for its relaxation activity, we formed R-loops and D-loops in plasmids. In addition to containing a single-stranded region, these R-loops and D-loops have the advantage of being covalently closed and supercoiled, thus allowing us to assay for supercoil relaxation. We found that topo IIIbeta preferentially cleaves, rather than relaxes, these substrates. The cleavage of the R-loops and D-loops, which is primarily in the form of nicking, occurs to a greater extent at a temperature that is lower than the optimal temperature for relaxation of hypernegatively supercoiled plasmid. In addition, the cleavage can be readily reversed by high salt or high temperature, and the products fail to enter the gel in the absence of proteinase K treatment and are not observed with an active-site Y332F mutant of topo IIIbeta, indicating that the cleavage is mediated by a topoisomerase. We mapped the cleavage to the unpaired strand within the loop region and found that the cleavage occurs along the length of the unpaired strand. These studies suggest that the topo III enzyme behaves as a structure-specific endonuclease in vivo, providing a reversible DNA cleavage activity that is specific for unpaired regions in the DNA.