An enzyme of unknown function within the amidohydrolase superfamily was discovered to catalyze the hydrolysis of N-6-substituted adenine derivatives, several of which are cytokinins. Cytokinins are a common type of plant hormone and N-6-substituted adenines are also found as modifications to tRNA. Patl2390, from Pseudoalteromonas atlantica T6c, was shown to hydrolytically deaminate N-6-isopentenyladenine to hypoxanthine and isopentenylamine with a kcat/Km of 1.2 × 107 M−1 s−1. Additional substrates include N-6-benzyl adenine, cis- and trans-zeatin, kinetin, O-6-methylguanine, N-6-butyladenine, N-6-methyladenine, N,N-dimethyladenine, 6-methoxypurine, 6-chloropurine, and 6-thiomethylpurine. This enzyme does not catalyze the deamination of adenine or adenosine. A comparative model of Patl2390 was computed using the three-dimensional crystal structure of Pa0148 (PDB code: 3PAO) as a structural template and docking was used to refine the model to accommodate experimentally identified substrates. This is the first identification of an enzyme that will hydrolyze an N-6 substituted side chain larger than methylamine from adenine.
Four proteins from NCBI cog1816, previously annotated as adenosine deaminases, have been subjected to structural and functional characterization. Pa0148 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1), AAur1117 (Arthrobacter aurescens TC1), Sgx9403e, and Sgx9403g, have been purified and their substrate profiles determined. Adenosine is not a substrate for any of these enzymes. All of these proteins will deaminate adenine to produce hypoxanthine with values of kcat/Km that exceed 105 M−1s−1. These enzymes will also accept 6-chloropurine, 6-methoxypurine, N-6-methyladenine, and 2,6-diaminopurine as alternate substrates. X-ray structures of Pa0148 and AAur1117 have been determined and reveal nearly identical distorted (β/α)8-barrels with a single zinc ion that is characteristic of members of the amidohydrolase superfamily. Structures of Pa0148 with adenine, 6-chloropurine and hypoxanthine were also determined thereby permitting identification of the residues responsible for coordinating the substrate and product.
Adenine deaminase (ADE) catalyzes the conversion of adenine to hypoxanthine and ammonia. The enzyme isolated from Escherichia coli using standard expression conditions was low for the deamination of adenine (kcat = 2.0 s−1; kcat/Km = 2.5 × 103 M−1 s−1). However, when iron was sequestered with a metal chelator and the growth medium was supplemented with Mn2+ prior to induction, the purified enzyme was substantially more active for the deamination of adenine with values of kcat and kcat/Km of 200 s−1 and 5 × 105 M−1s−1, respectively. The apo-enzyme was prepared and reconstituted with Fe2+, Zn2+, or Mn2+. In each case, two enzyme-equivalents of metal were necessary for reconstitution of the deaminase activity. This work provides the first example of any member within the deaminase sub-family of the amidohydrolase superfamily (AHS) to utilize a binuclear metal center for the catalysis of a deamination reaction. [FeII/FeII]-ADE was oxidized to [FeIII/FeIII]-ADE with ferricyanide with inactivation of the deaminase activity. Reducing [FeIII/FeIII]-ADE with dithionite restored the deaminase activity and thus the di-ferrous form of the enzyme is essential for catalytic activity. No evidence for spin-coupling between metal ions was evident by EPR or Mössbauer spectroscopies. The three-dimensional structure of adenine deaminase from Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Atu4426) was determined by X-ray crystallography at 2.2 Å resolution and adenine was modeled into the active site based on homology to other members of the amidohydrolase superfamily. Based on the model of the adenine-ADE complex and subsequent mutagenesis experiments, the roles for each of the highly conserved residues were proposed. Solvent isotope effects, pH rate profiles and solvent viscosity were utilized to propose a chemical reaction mechanism and the identity of the rate limiting steps.
In murine cells expressing the PaeR7 endonuclease and methylase genes, the recognition sites (CTCGAG) of these enzymes can be methylated at the adenine residue by the PaeR7 methylase and at the internal cytosine by the mouse DNA methyltransferase. Using nonadecameric duplex deoxyoligonucleotide substrates, the specificity of the PaeR7 endonuclease for unmethylated, hemi-methylated, and fully methylated N6-methyladenine (m6A) and C5-methylcytosine (m5C) versions of these substrates has been studied. The Km, Kcat, and Ki values for these model substrates have been measured and suggest that fully or hemi-m6A-methylated PaeR7 sites in the murine genome are completely protected. However, the reactivity of fully or hemi-m5C-methylated PaeR7 sites is depressed 2900- and 100-fold respectively, compared to unmodified PaeR7 sites. The implications of the kinetic constants of the PaeR7 endonuclease for these methylated recognition sites as they occur in murine cells expressing this endonuclease gene are discussed.
The Escherichia coli 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase II protein (AlkA) recognizes a broad range of oxidized and alkylated base lesions and catalyzes the hydrolysis of the N-glycosidic bond to initiate the base excision repair pathway. Although the enzyme was one of the first DNA repair glycosylases to be discovered more than 25 years ago, and there are multiple crystal structures, the mechanism is poorly understood. Therefore, we have characterized the kinetic mechanism for the AlkA-catalyzed excision of the deaminated purine, hypoxanthine. The multiple turnover glycosylase assays are consistent with Michaelis-Menten kinetics. However, under single turnover conditions that are commonly employed to study other DNA glycosylases, we observe an unusual biphasic protein saturation curve. Initially the observed rate constant for excision increases with increasing AlkA protein, but at higher concentrations of protein the rate constant decreases. This behavior can be most easily explained by tight binding to DNA ends and by crowding of multiple AlkA protamers on the DNA. Consistent with this model, crystal structures have shown the preferential binding of AlkA to DNA ends. By varying the position of the lesion, we identified an asymmetric substrate that does not show inhibition at higher concentrations of AlkA and we performed pre-steady state and steady state kinetic analysis. Unlike other glycosylases, release of the abasic product is faster than N-glycosidic bond cleavage. Nevertheless, AlkA exhibits significant product inhibition under multiple-turnover conditions, and it binds approximately 10-fold more tightly to an abasic site than to a hypoxanthine lesion site. This tight binding could help protect abasic sites when the adaptive response to DNA alkylation is activated and very high levels of AlkA protein are present.
Cytosine deaminase (CDA) from Escherichia coli was shown to catalyze the deamination of isoguanine (2-oxoadenine) to xanthine. Isoguanine is an oxidation product of adenine in DNA that is mutagenic to the cell. The isoguanine deaminase activity in E. coli was partially purified by ammonium sulfate fractionation, gel filtration and anion exchange chromatography. The active protein was identified by peptide mass fingerprint analysis as cytosine deaminase. The kinetic constants for the deamination of isoguanine at pH 7.7 are kcat = 49 s-1, Km = 72 μM, and kcat/Km = 6.7 × 105 M-1 s-1. The kinetic constant for the deamination of cytosine are kcat = 45 s-1, Km = 302 μM, and kcat/Km = 1.5 × 105 M-1 s-1. Under these reaction conditions isoguanine is the better substrate for cytosine deaminase. The three dimensional structure of CDA was determined with isoguanine in the active site.
orphan enzymes; isoguanine deaminase
The structure of 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase I in complex with 3-methyladenine is reported.
The removal of chemically damaged DNA bases such as 3-methyladenine (3-MeA) is an essential process in all living organisms and is catalyzed by the enzyme 3-MeA DNA glycosylase I. A key question is how the enzyme selectively recognizes the alkylated 3-MeA over the much more abundant adenine. The crystal structures of native and Y16F-mutant 3-MeA DNA glycosylase I from Staphylococcus aureus in complex with 3-MeA are reported to 1.8 and 2.2 Å resolution, respectively. Isothermal titration calorimetry shows that protonation of 3-MeA decreases its binding affinity, confirming previous fluorescence studies that show that charge–charge recognition is not critical for the selection of 3-MeA over adenine. It is hypothesized that the hydrogen-bonding pattern of Glu38 and Tyr16 of 3-MeA DNA glycosylase I with a particular tautomer unique to 3-MeA contributes to recognition and selection.
3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase I; fluorescence measurements; ITC; DNA repair; recognition
The DNA methyltransferase of bacteriophage T4 (T4 Dam MTase) recognizes the palindromic sequence GATC, and catalyzes transfer of the methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet) to the N6-position of adenine [generating N6-methyladenine and S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (AdoHcy)]. Pre-steady state kinetic analysis revealed that the methylation rate constant kmeth for unmethylated and hemimethylated substrates (0.56 and 0.47 s–1, respectively) was at least 20-fold larger than the overall reaction rate constant kcat (0.023 s–1). This indicates that the release of products is the rate-limiting step in the reaction. Destabilization of the target-base pair did not alter the methylation rate, indicating that the rate of target nucleoside flipping does not limit kmeth. Preformed T4 Dam MTase–DNA complexes are less efficient than preformed T4 Dam MTase–AdoMet complexes in the first round of catalysis. Thus, this data is consistent with a preferred route of reaction for T4 Dam MTase in which AdoMet is bound first; this preferred reaction route is not observed with the DNA-[C5-cytosine]-MTases.
The mom gene of bacteriophage Mu encodes an enzyme that converts adenine to N6-(1-acetamido)-adenine in the phage DNA and thereby protects the viral genome from cleavage by a wide variety of restriction endonucleases. Mu-like prophage sequences present in Haemophilus influenzae Rd (FluMu), Neisseria meningitidis type A strain Z2491 (Pnme1) and H. influenzae biotype aegyptius ATCC 11116 do not possess a Mom-encoding gene. Instead, at the position occupied by mom in Mu they carry an unrelated gene that encodes a protein with homology to DNA adenine N6-methyltransferases (hin1523, nma1821, hia5, respectively). Products of the hin1523, hia5 and nma1821 genes modify adenine residues to N6-methyladenine, both in vitro and in vivo. All of these enzymes catalyzed extensive DNA methylation; most notably the Hia5 protein caused the methylation of 61% of the adenines in λ DNA. Kinetic analysis of oligonucleotide methylation suggests that all adenine residues in DNA, with the possible exception of poly(A)-tracts, constitute substrates for the Hia5 and Hin1523 enzymes. Their potential ‘sequence specificity’ could be summarized as AB or BA (where B = C, G or T). Plasmid DNA isolated from Escherichia coli cells overexpressing these novel DNA methyltransferases was resistant to cleavage by many restriction enzymes sensitive to adenine methylation.
The DNAs of strains of three cyanobacterial genera (Anabaena, Plectonema, and Synechococcus) were found to be partially or fully resistant to many restriction endonucleases. This could be due to the absence of specific sequences or to modifications, rendering given sequences resistant to cleavage. The latter explanation is substantiated by the content of N6-methyladenine and 5-methylcytosine in these genomes, which is high in comparison with that in other bacterial genomes. dcm- and dam-like methylases are present in the three strains (based on the restriction patterns obtained with the appropriate isoschizomeric enzymes). Their contribution to the overall content of methyladenine and methylcytosine in the genomes was calculated. Partial methylation of GATC sequences was observed in Anabaena DNA. In addition, the GATC methylation patterns might not have been random in the three cyanobacterial DNA preparations, as revealed by the appearance of discrete fragments (possibly of plasmid origin) withstanding cleavage by DpnI (which requires the presence of methyladenine in the GATC sequence).
We have investigated the occurrence of methylated adenine residues in the macronuclear ribosomal RNA genes of Tetrahymena thermophila. It has been shown previously that macronuclear DNA, including the palindromic ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA), of Tetrahymena thermophila contains the modified base N-6-methyladenine, but no 5-methylcytosine. Purified rDNA was digested with restriction enzymes Sau 3AI, MboI and DpnI to map the positions and levels of N-6-methyladenine in the sequence 5' GATC 3'. A specific pattern of doubly methylated GATC sequences was found; hemimethylated sites were not detected. The patterns and levels of methylation of these sites did not change significantly in different physiological states. A molecular form of the rDNA found in the newly developing macronucleus and for several generations following the sexual process, conjugation, contained no detectably methylated GATC sites. However, both the bulk macronuclear DNA and palindromic rDNA from the same macronuclei were methylated. Possible roles for N-6-methyladenine in macronuclear DNA are discussed in light of these findings.
Two previously uncharacterized proteins have been identified that efficiently catalyze the deamination of isoxanthopterin and pterin-6-carboxylate. The genes encoding these two enzymes, NYSGXRC-9339a (gi|44585104) and NYSGXRC-9236b (gi|44611670), were first identified from DNA isolated from the Sargasso Sea as part of the Global Ocean Sampling Project. The genes were synthesized, and the proteins were subsequently expressed and purified. The X-ray structure of Sgx9339a was determined at 2.7 Å resolution (PDB code: 2PAJ). This protein folds as a distorted (β/α)8-barrel and contains a single zinc ion in the active site. These enzymes are members of the amidohydrolase superfamily and belong to cog0402 within the clusters of orthologous groups (COG). Enzymes in cog0402 have previously been shown to catalyze the deamination of guanine, cytosine, S-adenosyl homocysteine, and 8-oxoguanine. A small compound library of pteridines, purines, and pyrimidines was used to probe catalytic activity. The only substrates identified in this search were isoxanthopterin and pterin-6-carboxylate. The kinetic constants for the deamination of isoxanthopterin with Sgx9339a were determined to be 1.0 s−1, 8.0 μM, and 1.3 × 105 M−1 s−1 for kcat, Km, and kcat/Km, respectively. The active site of Sgx9339a most closely resembles the active site for 8-oxoguanine deaminase (PDB code: 2UZ9). A model for substrate recognition of isoxanthopterin by Sgx9339a was proposed based upon the binding of guanine and xanthine in the active site of guanine deaminase. Residues critical for substrate binding appear to be conserved glutamine and tyrosine residues that hydrogen bond with the carbonyl oxygen at C4, a conserved threonine residue that hydrogen bonds with N5, and another conserved threonine residue that hydrogen bonds with the carbonyl group at C7. These conserved active site residues were used to identify 24 other genes which are predicted to deaminate isoxanthopterin.
Strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae were tested for the presence of methyladenine in the DNA sequence GATC by using the site-specific restriction endonucleases MboI and DpnI. It was found that 43 of 83 strains tested contained methylated DNA. When methylation was compared with the auxotype of the organism, 35 of 35 strains with the AHU (arginine-, hypoxanthine-, and uracil-requiring) auxotype and 8 of 48 strains with other auxotypes contained methyladenine. When the incidence of methylation in strains isolated from patients suffering from disseminated gonococcal infection was compared with that in strains isolated from patients suffering from uncomplicated gonococcal infection, no correlation with methylation and disseminated gonococcal infection was observed.
In DNA, the deamination of dAMP generates 2′-deoxyinosine 5′-monophosphate (dIMP). Hypoxanthine (HX) residues are mutagenic since they give rise to A·T→G·C transition. They are excised, although with different efficiencies, by an activity of the 3-methyladenine (3-meAde)-DNA glycosylases from Escherichia coli (AlkA protein), human cells (ANPG protein), rat cells (APDG protein) and yeast (MAG protein). Comparison of the kinetic constants for the excision of HX residues by the four enzymes shows that the E.coli and yeast enzymes are quite inefficient, whereas for the ANPG and the APDG proteins they repair the HX residues with an efficiency comparable to that of alkylated bases, which are believed to be the primary substrates of these DNA glycosylases. Since the use of various substrates to monitor the activity of HX-DNA glycosylases has generated conflicting results, the efficacy of the four 3-meAde-DNA glycosylases of different origin was compared using three different substrates. Moreover, using oligonucleotides containing a single dIMP residue, we investigated a putative sequence specificity of the enzymes involving the bases next to the HX residue. We found up to 2–5-fold difference in the rates of HX excision between the various sequences of the oligonucleotides studied. When the dIMP residue was placed opposite to each of the four bases, a preferential recognition of dI:T over dI:dG, dI:dC and dI:dA mismatches was observed for both human (ANPG) and E.coli (AlkA) proteins. At variance, the yeast MAG protein removed more efficiently HX from a dI:dG over dI:dC, dI:T and dI:dA mismatches.
The Escherichia coli AlkB protein catalyzes the direct reversal of alkylation damage to DNA; primarily 1-methyladenine (1mA) and 3-methylcytosine (3mC) lesions created by endogenous or environmental alkylating agents. AlkB is a member of the non-heme iron (II) α-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase superfamily, which removes the alkyl group through oxidation eliminating a methyl group as formaldehyde. We have developed a fluorescence-based assay for the dealkylation activity of this family of enzymes. It uses formaldehyde dehydrogenase to convert formaldehyde to formic acid and monitors the creation of an NADH analog using fluorescence. This assay is a great improvement over the existing assays for DNA demethylation in that it is continuous, rapid and does not require radioactively labeled material. It may also be used to study other demethylation reactions including demethylation of histones. We used it to determine the kinetic constants for AlkB and found them to be somewhat different than previously reported values. The results show that AlkB demethylates 1mA and 3mC with comparable efficiencies and has only a modest preference for a single-stranded DNA substrate over its double-stranded DNA counterpart.
Expression of the site-specific adenine methylase HhaII (GmeANTC, where me is methyl) or PstI (CTGCmeAG) induced the SOS DNA repair response in Escherichia coli. In contrast, expression of methylases indigenous to E. coli either did not induce SOS (EcoRI [GAmeATTC] or induced SOS to a lesser extent (dam [GmeATC]). Recognition of adenine-methylated DNA required the product of a previously undescribed gene, which we named mrr (methylated adenine recognition and restriction). We suggest that mrr encodes an endonuclease that cleaves DNA containing N6-methyladenine and that DNA double-strand breaks induce the SOS response. Cytosine methylases foreign to E. coli (MspI [meCCGG], HaeIII [GGmeCC], BamHI [GGATmeCC], HhaI [GmeCGC], BsuRI [GGmeCC], and M.Spr) also induced SOS, whereas one indigenous to E. coli (EcoRII [CmeCA/TGG]) did not. SOS induction by cytosine methylation required the rglB locus, which encodes an endonuclease that cleaves DNA containing 5-hydroxymethyl- or 5-methylcytosine (E. A. Raleigh and G. Wilson, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 83:9070-9074, 1986).
This study is concerned with the isolation and characterization of the enzyme, S-adenosylmethionine:ribosomal ribonucleic acid-adenine (N6−) methyl-transferase [rRNA-adenine (N6-) methylase] of Escherichia coli strain B, which is responsible for the formation of N6-methyladenine moieties in ribosomal ribonucleic acids (rRNA). A 1,500-fold purified preparation of the species-specific methyltransferase methylates a limited number of adenine moieties in heterologous rRNA (Micrococcus lysodeikticus and Bacillus subtilis) and methyl-deficient homologous rRNA. The site recognition mechanism does not require intact 16 or 23S rRNA. The enzyme does not utilize transfer ribonucleic acid as a methyl acceptor nor does it synthesize 2-methyladenine or N6-dimethyladenine moieties. Mg2+, spermine, K+, and Na+ increase the reaction rate but not the extent of methylation; elevated concentrations of the cations inhibit markedly. The purified preparations utilize 9-β-ribosyl-2,6-diaminopurine (DAPR) as a methyl acceptor with the synthesis of 9-β-ribosyl-6-amino-2-methylaminopurine. A comparison of the two activities demonstrated that one methyltransferase is responsible for the methylation of both DAPR and rRNA. This property provides a sensitive assay procedure unaffected by ribonucleases and independent of any specificity exhibited by rRNA methyl acceptors.
When the Maxam and Gilbert DNA sequencing method which is modified by Bencini et al. (Biotechniques Jan/Feb pp4-5, 1984) is applied to DNA containing methylated adenine in a GATC sequence, the cleavage reaction by sodium hydroxide is found to be greatly reduced in comparison to that of non-methylated adenine. Thus, a faint band in A greater than C reaction suggests a methyl adenine and can be used for its detection. That the faint band corresponds to a methyladenine was confirmed by Sanger sequencing of the same fragment and further by Maxam and Gilbert sequencing of the complementary strand of DNA, which was replicated in an E. coli strain either having or lacking methylation enzymes.
The sequence specificity of the Tetrahymena DNA-adenine methylase was determined by nearest-neighbor analyses of in vivo and in vitro methylated DNA. In vivo all four common bases were found to the 5' side of N6-methyladenine, but only thymidine was 3'. Homologous DNA already methylated in vivo and heterologous Micrococcus luteus DNA were methylated in vitro by a partially purified DNA-adenine methylase activity isolated from Tetrahymena macronuclei. The in vitro-methylated sequence differed from the in vivo sequence in that both thymidine and cytosine were 3' nearest neighbors of N6-methyladenine.
Mycoplasma virus L2 is subject to host-specific restriction and modification in Acholeplasma laidlawii strains JA1 and K2. We have examined the DNAs from both host cells and viruses propagated on these strains with respect to susceptibility to cleavage by restriction endonucleases and for DNA base modifications. We show that, in strain K2 and L2 virus grown on K2 cells, cytosine in the sequence GATC is methylated to 5-methylcytosine and, although strain K2 and L2 viruses grown on K2 contain N6-methyladenine in their DNA, adenine in the sequence GATC is not methylated. In contrast to K2, strain JA1 and L2 virus grown on JA1 cells contain no detectable methylated bases. It is not known which of the methylated bases in K2 is the basis for the K2 restriction-modification system operative on L2 virus.
We have determined the nature of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) modification governed by the SA host specificity system of Salmonella typhimurium. Two lines of evidence indicate that SA modification is based on methylation of DNA-adenine residues. (i) The SA+ locus of Salmonella was transferred into Escherichia coli B, a strain that does not contain 5-methylcytosine in its DNA; although the hybrid strain was able to confer SA modification, its DNA still did not contain 5-methylcytosine. (ii) the N6-methyladenine content of phage L DNA was measured after growth in various host strains; phage lacking SA modification contained fewer N6-methyladenine residues per DNA. We also investigated the possibility, suggested by others (32), that SA modification protects phage DNA against restriction by the RII host specificity system. Phages lambda, P3, and L were grown in various SA+ and SA- hosts and tested for their relative plating ability on strains containing or lacking RII restriction; the presence or absence of SA modification had no effect on RII restriation. In vitro studies revealed, however, that Salmonella DNA is protected against cleavage by purified RII restriction endonuclease (R-EcoRII). This protection is not dependent on SA modification; rather, it appears to be due to methylation by a DNA-cytosine methylase which has overlapping specificity with the RII modification enzyme, but which is not involved in any other known host specificity system.
An activity from mouse liver with catalyzes the disappearance of O6-methylguanine from DNA methylated with methylnitrosourea has been partially purified by ammonium sulfate fractionation and DNA-cellulose chromatography. The activity does not require divalent metal ions and is not affected by EDTA. It is specific for the repair of O6-methylguanine lesions and does not affect the removal of 7-methylguanine, 7-methyladenine or 3-methyladenine. The disappearance of O6-methylguanine is linear with respect to the concentration of protein and is dependent on incubation temperature. The kinetics and substrate dependence experiments suggest that the protein factor is product-inactivated. Amino acid analysis of hydrolysates of protein obtained after incubation of methylated DNA with the protein factor indicates the presence of radiolabeled S-methyl-L-cysteine, suggesting that during the repair of O6-methylguanine from methylated DNA, the methyl group is transferred to a sulfhydryl of a cysteine residue of a protein. This represents the first such demonstration in a mammalian system.
Spontaneous hydrolytic deamination of DNA bases represents a considerable mutagenic threat to all organisms, particularly those living in extreme habitats. Cytosine is readily deaminated to uracil, which base pairs with adenine during replication, and most organisms encode at least one uracil DNA glycosylase (UDG) that removes this aberrant base from DNA with high efficiency. Adenine deaminates to hypoxanthine approximately 10-fold less efficiently, and its removal from DNA in vivo has to date been reported to be mediated solely by alkyladenine DNA glycosylase. We previously showed that UdgB from Pyrobaculum aerophilum, a hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon, can excise hypoxanthine from oligonucleotide substrates, but as this organism is not amenable to genetic manipulation, we were unable to ascertain that the enzyme also has this role in vivo. In the present study, we show that UdgB from Mycobacterium smegmatis protects this organism against mutagenesis associated with deamination of both cytosine and adenine. Together with Ung-type uracil glycosylase, M. smegmatis UdgB also helps attenuate the cytotoxicity of the antimicrobial agent 5-fluorouracil.
MmeI from Methylophilus methylotrophus belongs to the type II restriction-modification enzymes. It recognizes an asymmetric DNA sequence, 5′-TCCRAC-3′ (R indicates G or A), and cuts both strands at fixed positions downstream of the specific site. This particular feature has been exploited in transcript profiling of complex genomes (using serial analysis of gene expression technology). We have shown previously that the endonucleolytic activity of MmeI is strongly dependent on the presence of S-adenosyl-l-methionine (J. Nakonieczna, J. W. Zmijewski, B. Banecki, and A. J. Podhajska, Mol. Biotechnol. 37:127-135, 2007), which puts MmeI in subtype IIG. The same cofactor is used by MmeI as a methyl group donor for modification of an adenine in the upper strand of the recognition site to N6-methyladenine. Both enzymatic activities reside in a single polypeptide (919 amino acids [aa]), which puts MmeI also in subtype IIC of the restriction-modification systems. Based on a molecular model, generated with the use of bioinformatic tools and validated by site-directed mutagenesis, we were able to localize three functional domains in the structure of the MmeI enzyme: (i) the N-terminal portion containing the endonucleolytic domain with the catalytic Mg2+-binding motif D70-X9-EXK82, characteristic for the PD-(D/E)XK superfamily of nucleases; (ii) a central portion (aa 310 to 610) containing nine sequence motifs conserved among N6-adenine γ-class DNA methyltransferases; (iii) the C-terminal portion (aa 610 to 919) containing a putative target recognition domain. Interestingly, all three domains showed highest similarity to the corresponding elements of type I enzymes rather than to classical type II enzymes. We have found that MmeI variants deficient in restriction activity (D70A, E80A, and K82A) can bind and methylate specific nucleotide sequence. This suggests that domains of MmeI responsible for DNA restriction and modification can act independently. Moreover, we have shown that a single amino acid residue substitution within the putative target recognition domain (S807A) resulted in a MmeI variant with a higher endonucleolytic activity than the wild-type enzyme.
We have previously reported the isolation of mammalian cell lines expressing the 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase I (tag) gene from E. coli. These cells are 2-5 fold more resistant to the toxic effects of methylating agents than normal cells (15). Kinetic measurements of 3-methyladenine removal from the genome in situ show a moderate (3-fold) increase in Tag expressing cells relative to normal as compared to a high (50-fold) increase in exogenous alkylated DNA in vitro by cell extracts. Excision of 7-methylguanine is as expected, unaffected by the tag+ gene expression. The frequency of mutations formed in the hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase (hprt) locus was investigated after methylmethanesulfonate (MMS), ethylmethanesulfonate (EMS), N-nitroso-N-methylurea (NMU) and N-nitroso-N-ethylurea (NEU) exposure. Tag expression reduced the frequency of MMS and EMS induced mutations to about half the normal rate, whereas the mutation frequency in cells exposed to NMU or NEU is not affected by the tag+ gene expression. These results indicate that after exposure to compounds which produce predominantly N-alkylations in DNA, a substantial proportion of the mutations induced is formed at 3-alkyladenine residues in DNA.