Structures of Escherichia coli DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) in complex with a non-GATC sequence: potential implications for methylation-independent transcriptional repression.
ABSTRACT: DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) is widespread and conserved among the ?-proteobacteria. Methylation of the Ade in GATC sequences regulates diverse bacterial cell functions, including gene expression, mismatch repair and chromosome replication. Dam also controls virulence in many pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. An unexplained and perplexing observation about Escherichia coli Dam (EcoDam) is that there is no obvious relationship between the genes that are transcriptionally responsive to Dam and the promoter-proximal presence of GATC sequences. Here, we demonstrate that EcoDam interacts with a 5-base pair non-cognate sequence distinct from GATC. The crystal structure of a non-cognate complex allowed us to identify a DNA binding element, GTYTA/TARAC (where Y = C/T and R = A/G). This element immediately flanks GATC sites in some Dam-regulated promoters, including the Pap operon which specifies pyelonephritis-associated pili. In addition, Dam interacts with near-cognate GATC sequences (i.e. 3/4-site ATC and GAT). Taken together, these results imply that Dam, in addition to being responsible for GATC methylation, could also function as a methylation-independent transcriptional repressor.
Project description:The DNA of Serratia marcescens has N6-adenine methylation in GATC sequences. Among 2-aminopurine-sensitive mutants isolated from S. marcescens Sr41, one was identified which lacked GATC methylation. The mutant showed up to 30-fold increased spontaneous mutability and enhanced mutability after treatment with 2-aminopurine, ethyl methanesulfonate, or UV light. The gene (dam) coding for the adenine methyltransferase (Dam enzyme) of S. marcescens was identified on a gene bank plasmid which alleviated the 2-aminopurine sensitivity and the higher mutability of a dam-13::Tn9 mutant of Escherichia coli. Nucleotide sequencing revealed that the deduced amino acid sequence of Dam (270 amino acids; molecular mass, 31.3 kDa) has 72% identity to the Dam enzyme of E. coli. The dam gene is located between flanking genes which are similar to those found to the sides of the E. coli dam gene. The results of complementation studies indicated that like Dam of E. coli and unlike Dam of Vibrio cholerae, the Dam enzyme of S. marcescens plays an important role in mutation avoidance by allowing the mismatch repair enzymes to discriminate between the parental and newly synthesized strands during correction of replication errors.
Project description:Phase variation of the outer membrane protein Ag43 in E. coli requires deoxyadenosine methylase (Dam) and OxyR. Previously, it was shown that OxyR is required for repression of the Ag43-encoding gene, agn43, and that Dam-dependent methylation of three GATC target sequences in the regulatory region abrogates OxyR binding. Here we report further characterization of agn43 transcription and its regulation. Transcription was initiated from a sigma(70)-dependent promoter at the G residue of the upstream GATC sequence. Template DNA and RNA polymerase were sufficient to obtain transcription in vitro, but DNA methylation enhanced the level of transcription. Analyses of transcription in vivo of agn'-lacZ with mutated Dam target sequences support this conclusion. Since methylation also abrogates OxyR binding, this indicates that methylation plays a dual role in facilitating agn43 transcription. In vitro transcription from an unmethylated template was repressed by OxyR(C199S), which resembles the reduced form of OxyR. Consistent with this and the role of Dam in OxyR binding, OxyR(C199S) protected from DNase I digestion the agn43 regulatory region from -16 to +42, which includes the three GATC sequences. Deletion analyses of the regulatory region showed that a 101-nucleotide region of the agn43 regulatory region containing the promoter and this OxyR binding region was sufficient for Dam- and OxyR-dependent phase variation
Project description:The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a weapon for delivering effectors into target cells that is widespread in Gram-negative bacteria. The T6SS is a highly versatile machine, as it can target both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, and it has been proposed that T6SSs are adapted to the specific needs of each bacterium. The expression of T6SS gene clusters and the activation of the secretion apparatus are therefore tightly controlled. In enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC), the sci1 T6SS gene cluster is subject to a complex regulation involving both the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) and DNA adenine methylase (Dam)-dependent DNA methylation. In this study, an additional, internal, promoter was identified within the sci1 gene cluster using +1 transcriptional mapping. Further analyses demonstrated that this internal promoter is controlled by a mechanism strictly identical to that of the main promoter. The Fur binding box overlaps the -10 transcriptional element and a Dam methylation site, GATC-32. Hence, the expression of the distal sci1 genes is repressed and the GATC-32 site is protected from methylation in iron-rich conditions. The Fur-dependent protection of GATC-32 was confirmed by an in vitro methylation assay. In addition, the methylation of GATC-32 negatively impacted Fur binding. The expression of the sci1 internal promoter is therefore controlled by iron availability through Fur regulation, whereas Dam-dependent methylation maintains a stable ON expression in iron-limited conditions.IMPORTANCE Bacteria use weapons to deliver effectors into target cells. One of these weapons, the type VI secretion system (T6SS), assembles a contractile tail acting as a spring to propel a toxin-loaded needle. Its expression and activation therefore need to be tightly regulated. Here, we identified an internal promoter within the sci1 T6SS gene cluster in enteroaggregative E. coli We show that this internal promoter is controlled by Fur and Dam-dependent methylation. We further demonstrate that Fur and Dam compete at the -10 transcriptional element to finely tune the expression of T6SS genes. We propose that this elegant regulatory mechanism allows the optimum production of the T6SS in conditions where enteroaggregative E. coli encounters competing species.
Project description:The mismatch repair system (MMR) corrects replication errors that escape proofreading. Previous studies on extrachromosomal DNA in Escherichia coli suggested that MMR uses hemimethylated GATC sites to identify the newly synthesized strand. In this work we asked how the distance of GATC sites and their methylation status affect the occurrence of single base substitutions on the E. coli chromosome. As a reporter system we used a lacZ gene containing an early TAA stop codon. We found that occurrence of point mutations at this stop codon is unaffected by GATC sites located more than 115 base pairs away. However, a GATC site located about 50 base pairs away resulted in a decreased mutation rate. This effect was independent of Dam methylation. The reversion rate of the stop codon increased only slightly in dam mutants compared to mutL and mutS mutants. We suggest that unlike on extrachromosomal DNA, GATC methylation is not the only strand discrimination signal for MMR on the E. coli chromosome.
Project description:The region (retron-Ec67) required for the biosynthesis of a branched-RNA-linked multicopy single-stranded DNA (msDNA-Ec67) from a clinical isolate of Escherichia coli was mapped at a position equivalent to 19 min on the K-12 chromosome. The element containing the retron consisted of a unique 34-kilobase sequence that was flanked by direct repeats of a 26-base-pair sequence found in the K-12 chromosomal DNA. This suggests that the 34-kilobase element was probably integrated into the E. coli genome by a mechanism related to transposition or phage integration. In the 34-kilobase sequence an open reading frame of 285 residues was found, which displays 44% sequence identity with the E. coli Dam methylase. Interestingly, there are three GATC sequences, the site of Dam methylation, in the promoter region of the gene for reverse transcriptase.
Project description:DNA methylation in prokaryotes is widespread. The most common modification of the genome is the methylation of adenine at the N-6 position. In Escherichia coli K-12 and many gammaproteobacteria, this modification is catalyzed by DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) at the GATC consensus sequence and is known to modulate cellular processes including transcriptional regulation of gene expression, initiation of chromosomal replication, and DNA mismatch repair. While studies thus far have focused on the motifs associated with methylated adenine (meA), the frequency of meA across the genome, and temporal dynamics during early periods of incubation, here we conduct the first study on the temporal dynamics of adenine methylation in E. coli by Dam throughout all five phases of the bacterial life cycle in the laboratory. Using single-molecule real-time sequencing, we show that virtually all GATC sites are significantly methylated over time; nearly complete methylation of the chromosome was confirmed by mass spectroscopy analysis. However, we also detect 66 sites whose methylation patterns change significantly over time within a population, including three sites associated with sialic acid transport and catabolism, suggesting a potential role for Dam regulation of these genes; differential expression of this subset of genes was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Further, we show significant growth defects of the dam mutant during long-term stationary phase (LTSP). Together these data suggest that the cell places a high premium on fully methylating the chromosome and that alterations in methylation patterns may have significant impact on patterns of transcription, maintenance of genetic fidelity, and cell survival. IMPORTANCE While it has been shown that methylation remains relatively constant into early stationary phase of E. coli, this study goes further through death phase and long-term stationary phase, a unique time in the bacterial life cycle due to nutrient limitation and strong selection for mutants with increased fitness. The absence of methylation at GATC sites can influence the mutation frequency within a population due to aberrant mismatch repair. Therefore, it is important to investigate the methylation status of GATC sites in an environment where cells may not prioritize methylation of the chromosome. This study demonstrates that chromosome methylation remains a priority even under conditions of nutrient limitation, indicating that continuous methylation at GATC sites could be under positive selection.
Project description:Escherichia coli DNA adenine methyltransferase (EcoDam) methylates the N-6 position of the adenine in the sequence 5'-GATC-3' and plays vital roles in gene regulation, mismatch repair, and DNA replication. It remains unclear how the small number of critical GATC sites involved in the regulation of replication and gene expression are differentially methylated, whereas the approximately 20,000 GATCs important for mismatch repair and dispersed throughout the genome are extensively methylated. Our prior work, limited to the pap regulon, showed that methylation efficiency is controlled by sequences immediately flanking the GATC sites. We extend these studies to include GATC sites involved in diverse gene regulatory and DNA replication pathways as well as sites previously shown to undergo differential in vivo methylation but whose function remains to be assigned. EcoDam shows no change in affinity with variations in flanking sequences derived from these sources, but methylation kinetics varied 12-fold. A-tracts immediately adjacent to the GATC site contribute significantly to these differences in methylation kinetics. Interestingly, only when the poly(A) is located 5' of the GATC are the changes in methylation kinetics revealed. Preferential methylation is obscured when two GATC sites are positioned on the same DNA molecule, unless both sites are surrounded by large amounts of nonspecific DNA. Thus, facilitated diffusion and sequences immediately flanking target sites contribute to higher order specificity for EcoDam; we suggest that the diverse biological roles of the enzyme are in part regulated by these two factors, which may be important for other enzymes that sequence-specifically modify DNA.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The tetranucleotide GATC is methylated in Escherichia. coli by the DNA methyltransferase (Dam) and is known to be implicated in numerous cellular processes. Mutants lacking Dam are characterized by a pleiotropic phenotype. The existence of a GATC regulated network, thought to be involved in cold and oxygen shift, had been proposed and its existence has recently been confirmed. The aim of this article is to describe the components of the GATC regulated network of E. coli in detail and propose a role of this network in the light of an evolutionary advantage for the organism. RESULTS: We have classified the genes of the GATC network according to the EcoCyc functional classes. Comparisons with all of E. coli's genes and the genes involved in the SOS and stress response show that the GATC network forms a group apart. The functional classes that characterize the network are the Energy metabolism (in particular respiration), Fatty acid/ Phospholipid metabolism and Nucleotide metabolism. CONCLUSIONS: The network is thought to come into play when the cell undergoes coldshock and is likely to enter stationary phase.The respiration is almost completely under GATC control and according to our hypothesis it will be blocked at the moment of coldshock; this might give the cell a selective advantage as it increases its chances for survival when entering stationary phase under coldshock. We predict the accumulation of formate and possibly succinate, which might increase the cell's resistance, in this case to antimicrobial agents, when entering stationary phase.
Project description:DNA methyltransferases methylate target bases within specific nucleotide sequences. Three structures are described for bacteriophage T4 DNA-adenine methyltransferase (T4Dam) in ternary complexes with partially and fully specific DNA and a methyl-donor analog. We also report the effects of substitutions in the related Escherichia coli DNA methyltransferase (EcoDam), altering residues corresponding to those involved in specific interaction with the canonical GATC target sequence in T4Dam. We have identified two types of protein-DNA interactions: discriminatory contacts, which stabilize the transition state and accelerate methylation of the cognate site, and antidiscriminatory contacts, which do not significantly affect methylation of the cognate site but disfavor activity at noncognate sites. These structures illustrate the transition in enzyme-DNA interaction from nonspecific to specific interaction, suggesting that there is a temporal order for formation of specific contacts.
Project description:Like many eukaryotes, bacteria make widespread use of postreplicative DNA methylation for the epigenetic control of DNA-protein interactions. Unlike eukaryotes, however, bacteria use DNA adenine methylation (rather than DNA cytosine methylation) as an epigenetic signal. DNA adenine methylation plays roles in the virulence of diverse pathogens of humans and livestock animals, including pathogenic Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Vibrio, Yersinia, Haemophilus, and Brucella. In Alphaproteobacteria, methylation of adenine at GANTC sites by the CcrM methylase regulates the cell cycle and couples gene transcription to DNA replication. In Gammaproteobacteria, adenine methylation at GATC sites by the Dam methylase provides signals for DNA replication, chromosome segregation, mismatch repair, packaging of bacteriophage genomes, transposase activity, and regulation of gene expression. Transcriptional repression by Dam methylation appears to be more common than transcriptional activation. Certain promoters are active only during the hemimethylation interval that follows DNA replication; repression is restored when the newly synthesized DNA strand is methylated. In the E. coli genome, however, methylation of specific GATC sites can be blocked by cognate DNA binding proteins. Blockage of GATC methylation beyond cell division permits transmission of DNA methylation patterns to daughter cells and can give rise to distinct epigenetic states, each propagated by a positive feedback loop. Switching between alternative DNA methylation patterns can split clonal bacterial populations into epigenetic lineages in a manner reminiscent of eukaryotic cell differentiation. Inheritance of self-propagating DNA methylation patterns governs phase variation in the E. coli pap operon, the agn43 gene, and other loci encoding virulence-related cell surface functions.