Transcription of the bacteriophage Mu mom operon requires transactivation by the phage-encoded C protein. DNase I footprinting showed that in the absence of C, Escherichia coli RNA polymerase E(sigma)70 (RNAP) binds to the mom promoter (Pmom) region at a site, P2 (from -64 to -11 with respect to the transcription start site), on the top (non-transcribed) strand. This is slightly upstream from, but overlapping P1 (-49 to +16), the functional binding site for rightward transcription. Host DNA-[N6-adenine] methyltransferase (Dam) methylation of three GATCs immediately upstream of the C binding site is required to prevent binding of the E.coli OxyR protein, which represses mom transcription in dam- strains. OxyR, known to induce DNA bending, is normally in a reduced conformation in vivo, but is converted to an oxidized state under standard in vitro conditions. Using DNase I footprinting, we provide evidence supporting the proposal that the oxidized and reduced forms of OxyR interact differently with their target DNA sequences in vitro. A mutant form, OxyR-C199S, was shown to be able to repress mom expression in vivo in a dam- host. In vitro DNase I footprinting showed that OxyR-C199S protected Pmom from -104 to -46 on the top strand and produced a protection pattern characteristic of reduced wild-type OxyR. Prebinding of OxyR-C199S completely blocked RNAP binding to P2 (in the absence of C), whereas it only slightly decreased binding of C to its target site (-55 to -28, as defined by DNase I footprinting). In contrast, OxyR-C199S strongly inhibited C-activated recruitment of RNAP to P1. These results indicate that OxyR repression is mediated subsequent to binding by C. Mutations have been isolated that relieve the dependence on C activation and have the same transcription start site as the C-activated wild-type promoter. One such mutant, tin7, has a single base change at -14, which changes a T6 run to T3GT2. OxyR-C199S partially inhibited RNAP binding to the tin7 promoter in vitro, even though the OxyR and RNAP-P1 binding sites probably do not overlap, and in vivo expression of tin7 was reduced 5- to 10-fold in dam- cells. These results suggest that OxyR can repress tin7.
The expression of the DNA modification gene (mom) of bacteriophage Mu requires the cellular deoxyadenosine methylase (dam) and a transactivation factor from the phage. By hypothesis, the transcription of mom is activated by methylation of three GATC sequences upstream from the mom gene. We have introduced small deletions at a fourth GATC site located about 140 base pairs downstream from the primary methylation region. Some of the deletions severely affect the mom gene expression. We propose from this analysis that (1) some important elements, possibly the promoter, concerned with the expression of mom are located between nucleotides 840 and 880 from the right end of Mu and (2) the mom protein starts with the codon GTG located at position 810. We favor the hypothesis that methylation turns off transcription upstream, thereby allowing the main mom promoter to function.
Bacteriophage Mu DNA was labeled after induction in the presence of [2-3H]adenine or [8-3H]adenine. Both Mu mom+·dam+ DNA and Mu mom−·dam+ DNA have similar N6-methyladenine (MeAde) contents, as well as similar frequencies of MeAde nearest neighbors. Both DNAs are sensitive to in vitro cleavage by R·DpnI but resistant to cleavage by R·DpnII. These results indicate that the mom+ protein does not alter the sequence specificity of the host dam+ methylase to produce MeAde at new sites. However, we have discovered a new modified base, denoted Ax, in Mu mom+·dam+ DNA; approximately 15% of the adenine residues are modified to Ax. Although the precise nature of the modification is not yet defined, analysis by electrophoresis and chromatography indicates that the N6-amino group is not the site of modification, and that the added moiety contains a free carboxyl group. Ax is not present in Mu mom+·dam+ or Mu mom−·dam+ phage DNA or in cellular DNA from uninduced Mu mom+·dam+ lysogens. These results suggest that expression of the dam+ and mom+ genes are required for the Ax modification and that this modification is responsible for protecting Mu DNA against certain restriction nucleases. Mu mom+·dam− DNA and Mu mom−·dam− DNA contain a very low level of MeAde (ca. 1 MeAde per 5,000 adenine residues). Since the only nearest neighbor to MeAde appears to be cytosine, we suggest that the methylated sequence is 5′... C-A*-C... 3′ and that this methylation is mediated by the EcoK modification enzyme.
Transcription of the bacteriophage Mu mom operon is strongly repressed by the host OxyR protein in dam - but not dam + cells. In this work we show that the extent of mom modification is sensitive to the relative levels of the Dam and OxyR proteins and OxyR appears to modulate the level of mom expression even in dam + cells. In vitro studies demonstrated that OxyR is capable of binding hemimethylated P mom , although its affinity is reduced slightly compared with unmethylated DNA. Thus, OxyR modulation of mom expression in dam + cells can be attributed to its ability to bind hemimethylated P mom DNA, the product of DNA replication.
Bacteriophage T2 codes for a DNA-(adenine-N6)methyltransferase (Dam), which is able to methylate both cytosine- and hydroxymethylcytosine-containing DNAs to a greater extent than the corresponding methyltransferase encoded by bacteriophage T4. We have cloned and sequenced the T2 dam gene and compared it with the T4 dam gene. In the Dam coding region, there are 22 nucleotide differences, 4 of which result in three coding differences (2 are in the same codon). Two of the amino acid alterations are located in a region of homology that is shared by T2 and T4 Dam, Escherichia coli Dam, and the modification enzyme of Streptococcus pneumoniae, all of which methylate the sequence 5' GATC 3'. The T2 dam and T4 dam promoters are not identical and appear to have slightly different efficiencies; when fused to the E. coli lacZ gene, the T4 promoter produces about twofold more beta-galactosidase activity than does the T2 promoter. In our first attempt to isolate T2 dam, a truncated gene was cloned on a 1.67-kilobase XbaI fragment. This construct produces a chimeric protein composed of the first 163 amino acids of T2 Dam followed by 83 amino acids coded by the pUC18 vector. Surprisingly, the chimera has Dam activity, but only on cytosine-containing DNA. Genetic and physical analyses place the T2 dam gene at the same respective map location as the T4 dam gene. However, relative to T4, T2 contains an insertion of 536 base pairs 5' to the dam gene. Southern blot hybridization and computer analysis failed to reveal any homology between this insert and either T4 or E. coli DNA.
BalI, a type II restriction-modification (R-M) system from the bacterium, Brevibacterium albidum, recognizes the DNA sequence 5'-TGGCCA-3'. We cloned the genes encoding the BalI restriction endonuclease and methyltransferase and expressed them in Escherichia coli. The two genes were aligned tail-to-tail and their termination codons overlapped. BalI restriction endonuclease and methyltransferase comprise 260 and 280 amino acids, respectively, and have molecular weights of 29 043 and 31 999 Da. The amino acid sequence of BalI methyltransferase is similar to that of other m6A MTases, although it has been categorized as a m5C methyltransferase. A high expression system for the BalI restriction endonuclease was constructed in E. coli for the production of large quantities of enzyme.
Bacteriophage T4 codes for a DNA-[N6-adenine] methyltransferase (Dam) which recognizes primarily the sequence GATC in both cytosine- and hydroxymethylcytosine-containing DNA. Hypermethylating mutants, damh, exhibit a relaxation in sequence specificity, that is, they are readily able to methylate non-canonical sites. We have determined that the damh mutation produces a single amino acid change (Pro126 to Ser126) in a region of homology (III) shared by three DNA-adenine methyltransferases; viz, T4 Dam, Escherichia coli Dam, and the DpnII modification enzyme of Streptococcus pneumoniae. We also describe another mutant, damc, which methylates GATC in cytosine-containing DNA, but not in hydroxymethylcytosine-containing DNA. This mutation also alters a single amino acid (Phe127 to Val127). These results implicate homology region III as a domain involved in DNA sequence recognition. The effect of several different amino acids at residue 126 was examined by creating a polypeptide chain terminating codon at that position and comparing the methylation capability of partially purified enzymes produced in the presence of various suppressors. No enzyme activity is detected when phenylalanine, glutamic acid, or histidine is inserted at position 126. However, insertion of alanine, cysteine, or glycine at residue 126 produces enzymatic activity similar to Damh.
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 anti-discriminatory 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.
The structure of the Escherichia coli Dam DNA-(adenine-N6)-methyltransferase in complex with cognate DNA was determined at 1.89 Å resolution in the presence of S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine. DNA recognition and the dynamics of base-flipping were studied by site-directed mutagenesis, DNA methylation kinetics and fluorescence stopped-flow experiments. Our data illustrate the mechanism of coupling of DNA recognition and base-flipping. Contacts to the non-target strand in the second (3′) half of the GATC site are established by R124 to the fourth base-pair, and by L122 and P134 to the third base-pair. The aromatic ring of Y119 intercalates into the DNA between the second and third base-pairs, which is essential for base-flipping to occur. Compared to previous published structures of bacteriophage T4 Dam, three major new observations are made in E. coli Dam. (1) The first Gua is recognized by K9, removal of which abrogates the first base-pair recognition. (2) The flipped target Ade binds to the surface of EcoDam in the absence of S-adenosyl-l-methionine, which illustrates a possible intermediate in the base-flipping pathway. (3) The orphaned Thy residue displays structural flexibility by adopting an extrahelical or intrahelical position where it is in contact to N120.
Dam methylation; GATC recognition; base flipping; bacterial virulence factor
Properties of a mutant bacteriophage T2 DNA [N6-adenine] methyltransferase
(T2 Dam MTase) have been investigated for its potential utilization
in RecA-assisted restriction endonuclease (RARE) cleavage. Steady-state
kinetic analyses with oligonucleotide duplexes revealed that, compared
to wild-type T4 Dam, both wild-type T2 Dam and mutant T2 Dam P126S
had a 1.5-fold higher kcat in methylating
canonical GATC sites. Additionally, T2 Dam P126S showed increased efficiencies
in methylation of non-canonical GAY sites relative to the wild-type
enzymes. In agreement with these steady-state kinetic data, when
bacteriophage λ DNA was used as a substrate,
maximal protection from restriction nuclease cleavage in
vitro was achieved on the sequences GATC, GATN and GACY, while
protection of GACR sequences was less efficient. Collectively, our
data suggest that T2 Dam P126S can modify 28 recognition sequences.
The feasibility of using the mutant enzyme in RARE cleavage with BclI and EcoRV endonucleases has been
shown on phage λ DNA and with BclI
and DpnII endonucleases on yeast chromosomal DNA embedded
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).
Bacteriophages T2 and T4 encode DNA-[N6-adenine] methyltransferases (Dam) which differ from each other by only three amino acids. The canonical recognition sequence for these enzymes in both cytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine-containing DNA is GATC; at a lower efficiency they also recognize some non-canonical sites in sequences derived from GAY (where Y is cytosine or thymine). We found that T4 Dam fails to methylate certain GATA and GATT sequences which are methylated by T2 Dam. This indicates that T2 Dam and T4 Dam do not have identical sequence specificities. We analyzed DNA sequence data files obtained from GenBank, containing about 30% of the T4 genome, to estimate the overall frequency of occurrence of GATC, as well as non-canonical sites derived from GAY. The observed N6methyladenine (m6A) content of T4 DNA, methylated exclusively at GATC (by Escherichia coli Dam), was found to be in good agreement with this estimate. Although GATC is fully methylated in virion DNA, only a small percentage of the non-canonical sequences are methylated.
It was previously shown that resistance of phage Mu-1 to several restriction enzymes is due to a modification function (called mom) encoded by the phage. More recent studies emphasized that modification of Mu requires not only an active mom function, but also an active dam function supplied by the Escherichia coli host.
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.
DNA adenine methylation by DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) in Escherichia coli plays an important role in processes such as DNA replication initiation, gene expression regulation, and mismatch repair. In addition, E. coli strains deficient in Dam are hypersensitive to DNA-damaging agents. We used genome microarrays to compare the transcriptional profiles of E. coli strains deficient in Dam and mismatch repair (dam, dam mutS, and mutS mutants). Our results show that >200 genes are expressed at a higher level in the dam strain, while an additional mutation in mutS suppresses the induction of many of the same genes. We also show by microarray and semiquantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR that both dam and dam mutS strains show derepression of LexA-regulated SOS genes as well as the up-regulation of other non-SOS genes involved in DNA repair. To correlate the level of SOS induction and the up-regulation of genes involved in recombinational repair with the level of DNA damage, we used neutral single-cell electrophoresis to determine the number of double-strand breaks per cell in each of the strains. We find that dam mutant E. coli strains have a significantly higher level of double-strand breaks than the other strains. We also observe a broad range in the number of double-strand breaks in dam mutant cells, with a minority of cells showing as many as 10 or more double-strand breaks. We propose that the up-regulation of recombinational repair in dam mutants allows for the efficient repair of double-strand breaks whose formation is dependent on functional mismatch repair.
Bacteria produce a variety of enzymes capable of methylating DNA. In many species, the majority of adenine methylation is accomplished by the DNA adenine methylase Dam. In Escherichia coli the Dam methylase plays roles in the initiation of replication, mismatch repair, and gene regulation. In a number of other bacterial species, mutation or overexpression of Dam leads to attenuation of virulence. Homologues of the dam gene exist in some members of the Firmicutes, including Streptococcus mutans, a dental pathogen. An S. mutans strain inactivated in the dam gene (SMU.504; here designated damA) was engineered, and phenotypes linked to cariogenicity were examined. A prominent observation was that the damA mutant produced greater amounts of glucan than the parental strain. Real-time PCR confirmed upregulation of gtfB. To determine whether other loci were affected by the damA mutation, a microarray analysis was carried out. Seventy genes were upregulated at least 2-fold in the damA mutant, and 33 genes were downregulated at least 2-fold. In addition to gtfB (upregulated 2.6-fold; 1.7-fold when measured by real-time PCR), other upregulated virulence factors included gbpC (upregulated 2.1-fold) and loci predicted to encode bacteriocins (upregulated 2- to 7-fold). Various sugar transport operons were also upregulated, the most extreme being the cellobiose operon (upregulated nearly 40-fold). Expression of sacB, encoding fructosyltransferase, was downregulated 2.4-fold. The sequence 5′-GATC-3′ appeared to constitute the recognition sequence for methylation. These results provide evidence that DNA methylation in S. mutans has a global effect on gene expression, including that of genes associated with cariogenic potential.
In this study, we demonstrated that the methyltransferase activity associated with Dam was essential for attenuation of Aeromonas hydrophila virulence. We mutated aspartic acid and tyrosine residues to alanine within the conserved DPPY catalytic motif of Dam and transformed the pBAD/damD/A, pBAD/damY/A, and pBAD/damAhSSU (with the native dam gene) recombinant plasmids into the Escherichia coli GM33 (dam-deficient) strain. Genomic DNA (gDNA) isolated from either of the E. coli GM33 strains harboring the pBAD vector with the mutated dam gene was resistant to DpnI digestion and sensitive to DpnII restriction endonuclease cutting. These findings were contrary to those with the gDNA of E. coli GM33 strain containing the pBAD/damAhSSU plasmid, indicating nonmethylation of E. coli gDNA with mutated Dam. Overproduction of mutated Dam in A. hydrophila resulted in bacterial motility, hemolytic and cytotoxic activities associated with the cytotoxic enterotoxin (Act), and protease activity similar to that of the wild-type (WT) bacterium, which harbored the pBAD vector and served as a control strain. On the contrary, overproduction of native Dam resulted in decreased bacterial motility, increased Act-associated biological effects, and increased protease activity. Lactone production, an indicator of quorum sensing, was increased when the native dam gene was overexpressed, with its levels returning to that of the control strain when the dam gene was mutated. These effects of Dam appeared to be mediated through a regulatory glucose-inhibited division A protein. Infection of mice with the mutated Dam-overproducing strains resulted in mortality rates similar to those for the control strain, with 100% of the animals dying within 2 to 3 days with two 50% lethal doses (LD50s) of the WT bacterium. Importantly, immunization of mice with a native-Dam-overproducing strain at the same LD50 did not result in any lethality and provided protection to animals after subsequent challenge with a lethal dose of the control strain.
The dam gene of Escherichia coli encodes a DNA methyltransferase that methylates the N6 position of adenine in the sequence GATC. It was stably expressed from a shuttle vector in a repair- and recombination-proficient strain of Bacillus subtilis. In this strain the majority of plasmid DNA molecules was modified at dam sites whereas most chromosomal DNA remained unmethylated during exponential growth. During stationary phase the amount of unmethylated DNA increased, suggesting that methylated bases were being removed. An ultraviolet damage repair-deficient mutant (uvrB) contained highly methylated chromosomal and plasmid DNA. High levels of Dam methylation were detrimental to growth and viability of this mutant strain and some features of the SOS response were also induced. A mutant defective in the synthesis of adaptive DNA alkyltransferases and induction of the adaptive response (ada) also showed high methylation and properties similar to that of the dam gene expressing uvrB strain. When protein extracts from B. subtilis expressing the Dam methyltransferase or treated with N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitroso-guanidine were incubated with [3H]-labelled Dam methylated DNA, the methyl label was bound to two proteins of 14 and 9 kD. Some free N6-methyladenine was also detected in the supernatant of the incubation mixture. We propose that N6-methyladenine residues are excised by proteins involved in both excision (uvrB) and the adaptive response (ada) DNA repair pathways in B. subtilis.
The phage Mu C gene product is a specific activator of Mu late gene transcription, including activation of the mom operon. Fusion of the C gene to the efficient translation initiation region of the Escherichia coli atpE gene allowed significant overproduction of C protein, which was subsequently purified and assayed for DNA binding by gel retardation and nuclease footprinting techniques. C protein binds to a site immediately upstream of the -35 region both of the mom promoter and the related phage D108 mod promoter. The location of the mom promoter has been determined by primer extension. Upstream deletions extending more than 3 base pairs into the C-binding site abolished activation of the mom promoter in vivo. In vitro binding of C was not significantly affected by DNA methylation. A second, C-dependent promoter was identified just downstream of the C coding region; comparison with the mom promoter revealed common structural elements.
We have examined the presence of methylated adenine at GATC sequences (Dam phenotype) in the DNA of 23 eubacteria and 13 archaebacteria by using isoshizomer restriction enzymes. We have found a completely Dam+ phenotype in bacteria of nine genera related to the families Enterobacteriaceae, Parvobacteriaceae, and Vibrionaceae, and in the five cyanobacteria tested. We have found a partial Dam+ phenotype in the two archaebacteria Halobacterium saccharovorum and Methanobacterium sp. strain Ivanov. All of the other archaebacteria (three genera) and eubacteria (nine genera) tested were Dam-. Phylogenetic analysis, based on the evolutionary tree of Fox et al. (Science 209:457-463, 1980), indicates that dam methylation in the Escherichia coli lineage appeared recently in bacterial evolution and is restricted to a small range of closely related bacteria.
DNA adenine methylase (Dam−) mutants of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium contain reduced levels of FinP RNA encoded on the virulence plasmid. Dam methylation appears to regulate finP transcription, rather than FinP RNA stability or turnover. The finP promoter includes canonical −10 and −35 modules and depends on the σ70 factor. Regulation of finP transcription by Dam methylation does not require DNA sequences upstream from the −35 module, indicating that Dam acts at the promoter itself or downstream. Unexpectedly, a GATC site overlapping with the −10 module is likewise dispensable for Dam-mediated regulation. These observations indicate that Dam methylation regulates finP transcription indirectly and suggest the involvement of a host factor(s) responsive to the Dam methylation state of the cell. We provide evidence that one such factor is the nucleoid protein H-NS, which acts as a repressor of finP transcription in a Dam− background. H-NS also restrains transcription of the overlapping traJ gene, albeit in a Dam-independent fashion. Hence, the decreased FinP RNA content found in Dam− hosts of S. enterica appears to result from H-NS-mediated repression of finP transcription.
A method is described which allows the preparation of reproducible partial digests without previous establishment of the incubation conditions. It is based on a combined application of dam methylase and the restriction endonuclease MboI, both recognizing the sequence 5'-GATC-3' but MboI unable to cut the methylated site. Due to their competition for the same substrate the DNA is partially digested, with the size of the resulting fragments strongly dependent on the ratio of enzymes. The Km of the dam methylase was determined to be 115 ng DNA/microliters indicating a variance in fragment sizes generated at low DNA-concentrations. This effect is minimized above 150 ng/microliters. Any influence of digestion time is avoided, because the reaction runs until complete modification of all sites. The dependence on enzyme concentration and presence of agarose was checked. Knowledge of these parameters allows an accurate prediction of fragment sizes generated at different conditions. The technique was successfully used to construct libraries from different sources, in particular chromosome-specific libraries from small amounts of flow-sorted material.
DNA methylation by the DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) interferes with the coordinated expression of virulence functions in an increasing number of pathogens. While analyzing the effect of Dam on the virulence of the human pathogen Yersinia enterocolitica, we observed type III secretion of Yop effector proteins under nonpermissive conditions. Dam alters the Ca2+ regulation of Yop secretion but does not affect the temperature regulation of Yop/Ysc expression. The phenotype is different from that of classical “Ca2+-blind” mutants of Yersinia, as Dam-overproducing (DamOP) strains still translocate Yops polarly into eukaryotic cells. Although transcription of the lcrGV and yopN-tyeA operons is slightly upregulated, LcrG is absent from lysates of DamOP bacteria, while the amounts of YopN and TyeA are not changed. We present evidence that clpXP expression increases after Dam overproduction and that the ClpP protease then degrades LcrG, thereby releasing a block in type III secretion. This is the first example of posttranslational regulation of type III secretion by the Clp protease and adds a new flavor to the complex regulatory mechanisms underlying the controlled release of effector proteins from bacterial cells.
Bacteria and bacteriophages have evolved DNA modification as a strategy to protect their genomes. Mom protein of bacteriophage Mu modifies the phage DNA, rendering it refractile to numerous restriction enzymes and in turn enabling the phage to successfully invade a variety of hosts. A strong fortification, a combined activity of the phage and host factors, prevents untimely expression of mom and associated toxic effects. Here, we identify the bacterial chromatin architectural protein Fis as an additional player in this crowded regulatory cascade. Both in vivo and in vitro studies described here indicate that Fis acts as a transcriptional repressor of mom promoter. Further, our data shows that Fis mediates its repressive effect by denying access to RNA polymerase at mom promoter. We propose that a combined repressive effect of Fis and previously characterized negative regulatory factors could be responsible to keep the gene silenced most of the time. We thus present a new facet of Fis function in Mu biology. In addition to bringing about overall downregulation of Mu genome, it also ensures silencing of the advantageous but potentially lethal mom gene.
The effect of the number and position of DNA adenine methylation (dam) sites, i.e., d(GATC) sequences, on mismatch repair in Escherichia coli was investigated. The efficiency of repair was measured in an in vitro assay which used an f1 heteroduplex containing a G/T mismatch within the single EcoRI site. Both an increase in the number of dam sites and a shortened distance between dam site and mismatched site increased the efficiency of mismatch repair. The sequences adjacent to d(GATC) also affected the efficiency of methylation-directed mismatch repair. Furthermore, heteroduplexes with one extra dam site located close to either the 5' or 3' end of the excised base increased the repair efficiency to about the same extent. The findings suggest that the mismatch repair pathway has no preferred polarity.