The kinetics of PaeR7 endonuclease-catalysed cleavage reactions of fluorophor-labeled oligonucleotide substrates have been examined using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). A series of duplex substrates were synthesized with an internal CTCGAG PaeR7 recognition site and donor (fluorescein) and acceptor (rhodamine) dyes conjugated to the opposing 5' termini. The time-dependent increase in donor fluorescence resulting from restriction cleavage of these substrates was continuously monitored and the initial rate data was fitted to the Michaelis-Menten equation. The steady state kinetic parameters for these substrates were in agreement with the rate constants obtained from a gel electrophoresis-based fixed time point assay using radiolabeled substrates. The FRET method provides a rapid continuous assay as well as high sensitivity and reproducibility. These features should make the technique useful for the study of DNA-cleaving enzymes.
To study the factors essential for a functional restriction system, the PaeR7 restriction-modification system has been introduced and expressed in murine cells. Transfer of this system was accomplished in two steps. First, cells containing sufficient PaeR7 methylase to completely methylate the mouse genome were constructed. In the second step, the mouse metallothionein promoter-regulated, endonuclease expression vector linked to the hygromycin B resistance selection marker was used to transfect the high methylase-expressing cells. Sixty percent of the clones isolated contained PaeR7 endonuclease enzymatic activity. Transfected cells expressing both methylase and endonuclease were incapable of blocking infection by DNA viruses, and possible explanations are discussed.
Recombinant adenovirus vectors represent an efficient means of transferring genes into many different organs. The first-generation E1-deleted vector genome remains episomal and, in the absence of host immunity, persists long-term in quiescent tissues such as the liver. The mechanism(s) which allows for persistence has not been established; however, vector DNA replication may be important because replication has been shown to occur in tissue culture systems. We have utilized a site-specific methylation strategy to monitor the replicative fate of E1-deleted adenovirus vectors in vitro and in vivo. Methylation-marked adenovirus vectors were produced by the addition of a methyl group onto the N6 position of the adenine base of XhoI sites, CTCGAG, by propagation of vectors in 293 cells expressing the XhoI isoschizomer PaeR7 methyltransferase. The methylation did not affect vector production or transgene expression but did prevent cleavage by XhoI. Loss of methylation through viral replication restores XhoI cleavage and was observed by Southern analysis in a wide variety of, but not all, cell culture systems studied, including hepatoma and mouse and macaque primary hepatocyte cultures. In contrast, following liver-directed gene transfer of methylated vector in C57BL/6 mice, adenovirus vector DNA was not cleaved by XhoI and therefore did not replicate, even after a period of 3 weeks. Although replication may occur in some tissues, these results show that stabilization of the vector within the target tissue prior to clearance by host immunity is not dependent upon replication of the vector, demonstrating that the input transduced DNA genomes were the persistent molecules. This information will be useful for the design of optimal adenovirus vectors and perhaps nonviral episomal vectors for clinical gene therapy.
Bal31 deletion experiments on clones of the PaeR7 restriction-modification system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa demonstrate that it is arranged as an operon, with the methylase gene preceding the endonuclease gene. The DNA sequence of this operon agrees with in vitro transcription-translation assays which predict proteins of 532 amino acids, Mr = 59,260 daltons, and 246 amino acids, Mr = 27,280 daltons, coincident with the methylase and endonuclease genes, respectively. These predicted values coincide with the measured molecular weights of the purified, denatured PaeR7 endonuclease and methylase proteins. The first twenty amino acids from the amino-terminus of the purified endonuclease exactly match those predicted from the DNA sequence. Finally, potential regulatory mechanisms for the expression of phage restriction are described based on the properties of several PaeR7 subclones.
Restriction endonuclease cleavage site analysis was used to differentiate between mouse adenovirus (MAV) types 1 and 2 strains. Viral DNA of suitable purity and quantity for multiple enzymatic digestions was obtained from cloned CMT-93 mouse tumor cells infected with each type of MAV. Clear differences between the MAV-1 (FL) and MAV-2 (K87) genomes were observed after cleavage with restriction enzymes such as BglII, EcoRI, and PaeR7. Fast electrophoresis of DNA fragments in miniature agarose slab gels allowed rapid and unequivocal identification of the MAV strains. This relatively simple and accurate method should be quite useful to determine the different modes of transmission of mouse adenoviruses and their presence in various animal populations.
Genetically programmed cell deaths play important roles in unicellular prokaryotes. In postsegregational killing, loss of a gene complex from a cell leads to its descendants’ deaths. With type II restriction–modification gene complexes, such death is triggered by restriction endonuclease's attacks on under-methylated chromosomes. Here, we examined how the Escherichia coli transcriptome changes after loss of PaeR7I gene complex. At earlier time points, activation of SOS genes and σE-regulon was noticeable. With time, more SOS genes, stress-response genes (including σS-regulon, osmotic-, oxidative- and periplasmic-stress genes), biofilm-related genes, and many hitherto uncharacterized genes were induced, and genes for energy metabolism, motility and outer membrane biogenesis were repressed. As expected from the activation of σE-regulon, the death was accompanied by cell lysis and release of cellular proteins. Expression of several σE-regulon genes indeed led to cell lysis. We hypothesize that some signal was transduced, among multiple genes involved, from the damaged genome to the cell surface and led to its disintegration. These results are discussed in comparison with other forms of programmed deaths in bacteria and eukaryotes.
Two DNA methylase activities of Escherichia coli C, the mec (designates DNA-cytosine-methylase gene, which is also designated dcm) and dam gene products, were physically separated by DEAE-cellulose column chromatography. The sequence and substrate specificity of the two enzymes were studied in vitro. The experiments revealed that both enzymes show their expected sequence specificity under in vitro conditions, methylating symmetrically on both DNA strands. The mec enzyme methylates exclusively the internal cytosine residue of CCATGG sequences, and the dam enzyme methylates adenine residues at GATC sites. Substrate specificity experiments revealed that both enzymes methylate in vitro unmethylated duplex DNA as efficiently as hemimethylated DNA. The results of these experiments suggest that the methylation at a specific site takes place by two independent events. A methyl group in a site on one strand of the DNA does not facilitate the methylation of the same site on the opposite strand. With the dam methylase it was found that the enzyme is incapable of methylating GATC sites located at the ends of DNA molecules.
Cytosine residues in mammalian DNA occur in at least three forms, cytosine (C), 5-methylcytosine (M; 5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (H; 5hmC). During semi-conservative DNA replication, hemi-methylated (M/C) and hemi-hydroxymethylated (H/C) CpG dinucleotides are transiently generated, where only the parental strand is modified and the daughter strand contains native cytosine. Here, we explore the role of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) and ten eleven translocation (Tet) proteins in perpetuating these states after replication, and the molecular basis of their recognition by methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) proteins. Using recombinant proteins and modified double-stranded deoxyoligonucleotides, we show that DNMT1 prefers a hemi-methylated (M/C) substrate (by a factor of >60) over hemi-hydroxymethylated (H/C) and unmodified (C/C) sites, whereas both DNMT3A and DNMT3B have approximately equal activity on all three substrates (C/C, M/C and H/C). Binding of MBD proteins to methylated DNA inhibited Tet1 activity, suggesting that MBD binding may also play a role in regulating the levels of 5hmC. All five MBD proteins generally have reduced binding affinity for 5hmC relative to 5mC in the fully modified context (H/M versus M/M), though their relative abilities to distinguish the two varied considerably. We further show that the deamination product of 5hmC could be excised by thymine DNA glycosylase and MBD4 glycosylases regardless of context.
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).
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).
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors stably transduce hepatocytes in experimental animals. Following portal-vein administration of rAAV vectors in vivo, single-stranded (ss) rAAV genomes become double stranded (ds), circularized, and/or concatemerized concomitant with a slow rise and, eventually, steady-state levels of transgene expression. Over time, at least some of the stabilized genomes become integrated into mouse chromosomal DNA. The mechanism(s) of formation of stable ds rAAV genomes from input ss DNA molecules has not been delineated, although second-strand synthesis and genome amplification by a rolling-circle model has been proposed. To begin to delineate a mechanism, we produced rAAV vectors in the presence of bacterial PaeR7 or Dam methyltransferase or constructed rAAV vectors labeled with different restriction enzyme recognition sites and introduced them into mouse hepatocytes in vivo. A series of molecular analyses demonstrated that second-strand synthesis and rolling-circle replication did not appear to be the major processes involved in the formation of stable ds rAAV genomes. Rather, recruitment of complementary plus and minus ss genomes and subsequent random head-to-head, head-to-tail, and tail-to-tail intermolecular joining were primarily responsible for the formation of ds vector genomes. These findings contrast with the previously described mechanism(s) of transduction based on in vitro studies. Understanding the mechanistic process responsible for vector transduction may allow the development of new strategies for improving rAAV-mediated gene transfer in vivo.
The characterization of MvaI restriction-modification enzymes, isolated from Micrococcus varians RFL19, is reported. Both enzymes recognize the 5'CC decreases (A/T)GG nucleotide sequence. The endonuclease cleaves the sequence at the position indicated by the arrow, whereas the methylase modifies the internal cytosine, yielding N4-methylcytosine. This type of modification protects the substrate from R.MvaI cleavage. 5-Methylcytosine in the same position of the recognition sequence does not protect the substrate from R.MvaI cleavage. R.MvaI proved to be the first example of a restriction endonuclease differentiating the position of the methyl group in the heterocyclic ring of cytosine, located in the same site of the recognition sequence. M.MvaI modifies DNA dcm+ in vitro yielding N4,5-dimethylcytosine. N4-methylcytosine cannot be differentiated from cytosine using the Maxam-Gilbert DNA sequencing procedure.
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
Presence and possible functions of DNA methylation in plastid genomes of higher plants have been highly controversial. While a number of studies presented evidence for the occurrence of both cytosine and adenine methylation in plastid genomes and proposed a role of cytosine methylation in the transcriptional regulation of plastid genes, several recent studies suggested that at least cytosine methylation may be absent from higher plant plastid genomes. To test if either adenine or cytosine methylation can play a regulatory role in plastid gene expression, we have introduced cyanobacterial genes for adenine and cytosine DNA methyltransferases (methylases) into the tobacco plastid genome by chloroplast transformation. Using DNA cleavage with methylation-sensitive and methylation-dependent restriction endonucleases, we show that the plastid genomes in the transplastomic plants are efficiently methylated. All transplastomic lines are phenotypically indistinguishable from wild-type plants and, moreover, show no alterations in plastid gene expression. Our data indicate that the expression of plastid genes is not sensitive to DNA methylation and, hence, suggest that DNA methylation is unlikely to be involved in the transcriptional regulation of plastid gene expression.
Chloroplast; Adenine methylation; Cytosine methylation; Dam methylation; Plastid transformation; Nicotiana tabacum
The Type IIB restriction–modification protein BcgI contains A and B subunits in a
2:1 ratio: A has the active sites for both endonuclease and methyltransferase functions
while B recognizes the DNA. Like almost all Type IIB systems, BcgI needs two unmethylated
sites for nuclease activity; it cuts both sites upstream and downstream of the recognition
sequence, hydrolyzing eight phosphodiester bonds in a single synaptic complex. This
complex may incorporate four A2B protomers to give the eight catalytic centres
(one per A subunit) needed to cut all eight bonds. The BcgI recognition sequence contains
one adenine in each strand that can be N6-methylated. Although most DNA
methyltransferases operate at both unmethylated and hemi-methylated sites, BcgI
methyltransferase is only effective at hemi-methylated sites, where the nuclease component
is inactive. Unlike the nuclease, the methyltransferase acts at solitary sites,
functioning catalytically rather than stoichiometrically. Though it transfers one methyl
group at a time, presumably through a single A subunit, BcgI methyltransferase can be
activated by adding extra A subunits, either individually or as part of A2B
protomers, which indicates that it requires an assembly containing at least two
The biological significance of cytosine methylation is as yet incompletely understood, but substantial and growing evidence strongly suggests that perturbation of methylation patterns, resulting from the infidelity of DNA cytosine methyltransferase, is an important component of the development of human cancer. We have developed a novel in vitro assay that allows us to quantitatively determine the DNA substrate preferences of cytosine methylases. This approach, which we call mass tagging, involves the labeling of target cytosine residues in synthetic DNA duplexes with stable isotopes, such as 15N. Methylation is then measured by the formation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The DNA substrate selectivity is determined from the mass spectrum of the product 5mC. With the non-symmetrical duplex DNA substrate examined in this study we find that the bacterial methyltransferase HpaII (duplex DNA recognition sequence CCGG) methylates the one methylatable cytosine of each strand similarly. Introduction of an A-C mispair at the methylation site shifts methylation exclusively to the mispaired cytosine residue. In direct competition assays with HpaII methylase we observe that the mispaired substrate is methylated more extensively than the fully complementary, normal substrate, although both have one HpaII methylation site. Through the use of this approach we will be able to learn more about the mechanisms by which methylation patterns can become altered.
DNA methylation is important in cellular, developmental and disease processes, as well as in bacterial restriction–modification systems. Methylation of DNA at the amino groups of cytosine and adenine is a common mode of protection against restriction endonucleases afforded by the bacterial methyltransferases. The first structure of an N6-adenine methyltransferase belonging to the β class of bacterial methyltransferases is described here. The structure of M·RsrI from Rhodobacter sphaeroides, which methylates the second adenine of the GAATTC sequence, was determined to 1.75 Å resolution using X-ray crystallography. Like other methyltransferases, the enzyme contains the methylase fold and has well-defined substrate binding pockets. The catalytic core most closely resembles the PvuII methyltransferase, a cytosine amino methyltransferase of the same β group. The larger nucleotide binding pocket observed in M·RsrI is expected because it methylates adenine. However, the most striking difference between the RsrI methyltransferase and the other bacterial enzymes is the structure of the putative DNA target recognition domain, which is formed in part by two helices on an extended arm of the protein on the face of the enzyme opposite the active site. This observation suggests that a dramatic conformational change or oligomerization may take place during DNA binding and methylation.
The type I DNA modification methylase M.EcoR124I binds sequence specifically to DNA and protects a 25bp fragment containing its cognate recognition sequence from digestion by exonuclease III. Using modified synthetic oligonucleotide duplexes we have investigated the catalytic properties of the methylase, and have established that a specific adenine on each strand of DNA is the site of methylation. We show that the rate of methylation of each adenine is increased at least 100 fold by prior methylation at the other site. However, this is accompanied by a significant decrease in the affinity of the methylase for these substrates according to competitive gel retardation assays. In contrast, methylation of an adenine in the recognition site which is not a target for the enzyme results in only a small decrease in both DNA binding affinity and rate of methylation by the enzyme.
Differences in the type of base methylated (cytosine or adenine) and in the extent of methylation were detected by high-pressure liquid chromatography in the DNAs of five spiroplasmas. Nearest neighbor analysis and digestion by restriction enzyme isoschizomers also revealed differences in methylation sequence specificity. Whereas in Spiroplasma floricola and Spiroplasma sp. strain PPS-1 5-methylcytosine was found on the 5' side of each of the four major bases, the cytosine in Spiroplasma apis DNA was methylated only when its 3' neighboring base was adenine or thymine. In Spiroplasma sp. strain MQ-1 over 95% of the methylated cytosine was in C-G sequences. Essentially all of the C-G sequences in the MQ-1 DNA were methylated. Partially purified extracts of S. apis and Spiroplasma sp. strain MQ-1 were used to study substrate and sequence specificity of the methylase activity. Methylation by the MQ-1 enzyme was exclusively at C-G sequences, resembling in this respect eucaryotic DNA methylases. However, the MQ-1 methylase differed from eucaryotic methylases by showing high activity on nonmethylated DNA duplexes, low activity with hemimethylated DNA duplexes, and no activity on single-stranded DNA.
We have developed the first economical and rapid nonradioactive assay method that is suitable for high-throughput screening of the important pharmacological target human DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase I (DNMT1). The method combines three key innovations: the use of a truncated form of the enzyme that is highly active on a 26 base pair hemimethylated DNA duplex substrate, the introduction of the methylation site into the recognition sequence of a restriction endonuclease, and the use of a fluorogenic readout method. The extent of DNMT1 methylation is reflected in the protection of the DNA substrate from endonuclease cleavage, which would otherwise result in a large fluorescence increase. The assay has been validated in a high-throughput format and trivial changes in the substrate sequence and endonuclease allow adaptation of the method to any bacterial or human DNA methyltransferase.
human cytosine DNA methyltransferase 1; high-throughput assay; fluorescence detection
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.
The cleavage specificity of R.Cfr9I was determined to be C decreases CCGGG whereas the methylation specificity of M.Cfr9I was C4mCCGGG. The action of MspI, HpaII, SmaI, XmaI and Cfr9I restriction endonucleases on an unmethylated parent d(GGACCCGGGTCC) dodecanucleotide duplex and a set of oligonucleotide duplexes, containing all possible substitutions of either 4mC or 5mC for C in the CCCGGG sequence, was investigated. It was found that 4mC methylation, in contrast to 5mC, renders the CCCGGG site resistant to practically all the investigated endonucleases. The cleavage of methylated substrates with restriction endonucleases is discussed.
Col E1 DNA has methylated cytosine in the sequence 5'-CC*(A/T)GG-3' and methylated adenine in the sequence 5'-GA*TC-3' at the positions indicated by asterisks(*). When the Maxam-Gilbert DNA sequencing method is applied to this DNA, the methylated cytosine (5-methylcytosine) is found to be less reactive to hydrazine than are cytosine and thymine, so that a band corresponding to that base does not appear in the pyrimidine cleavage patterns. The existence of the methylated cytosine can be confirmed by analyzing the complementary strand or unmethylated DNA. In contrast, the methylated adenine (probably N6-methyladenine) cannot be distinguished from adenine with standard conditions for cleavage at adenine.
The MutH protein, which is part of the Dam-directed mismatch repair system of Escherichia coli, introduces nicks in the unmethylated strand of a hemi-methylated DNA duplex. The latent endonuclease activity of MutH is activated by interaction with MutL, another member of the repair system. The crystal structure of MutH suggested that the active site residues include Asp70, Glu77 and Lys79, which are located at the bottom of a cleft where DNA binding probably occurs. We mutated these residues to alanines and found that the mutant proteins were unable to complement a chromosomal mutH deletion. The purified mutant proteins were able to bind to DNA with a hemi-methylated GATC sequence but had no detectable endonuclease activity with or without MutL. Although the data are consistent with the prediction of a catalytic role for Asp70, Glu77 and Lys79, it cannot be excluded that they are also involved in binding to MutL.
A procedure is described for the partial purification of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-cytosine methylases controlled by the RII plasmid and by the Escherichia coli mec+ gene. The two enzymes exhibit similar but distinct chromatographic behavior on diethylaminoethyl-cellulose and phosphocellulose. Preliminary studies on the two methylases indicate that they are indistinguishable with respect to their Km for S-adenosylmethionine and their pH (in tris (hydroxymethyl)aminomethane buffer) and NaCl concentration optima. In vitro methylation of various phage lambda DNA substrates by the mec'r RII enzyme modifies the DNA to a form that is completely resistant to double-stranded cleavage by the RII restriction endonuclease (R-EcoRII). These results are consistent with our earlier proposal that the mec8ethylase recognizes RII host specificity sites.