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author:("nivinskas, A")
1.  Comprehensive analysis of DNA polymerase III α subunits and their homologs in bacterial genomes 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(3):1393-1413.
The analysis of ∼2000 bacterial genomes revealed that they all, without a single exception, encode one or more DNA polymerase III α-subunit (PolIIIα) homologs. Classified into C-family of DNA polymerases they come in two major forms, PolC and DnaE, related by ancient duplication. While PolC represents an evolutionary compact group, DnaE can be further subdivided into at least three groups (DnaE1-3). We performed an extensive analysis of various sequence, structure and surface properties of all four polymerase groups. Our analysis suggests a specific evolutionary pathway leading to PolC and DnaE from the last common ancestor and reveals important differences between extant polymerase groups. Among them, DnaE1 and PolC show the highest conservation of the analyzed properties. DnaE3 polymerases apparently represent an ‘impaired’ version of DnaE1. Nonessential DnaE2 polymerases, typical for oxygen-using bacteria with large GC-rich genomes, have a number of features in common with DnaE3 polymerases. The analysis of polymerase distribution in genomes revealed three major combinations: DnaE1 either alone or accompanied by one or more DnaE2s, PolC + DnaE3 and PolC + DnaE1. The first two combinations are present in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. The third one (PolC + DnaE1), found in Clostridia, represents a novel, so far experimentally uncharacterized, set.
PMCID: PMC3919608  PMID: 24106089
2.  Circular permutation of DNA cytosine-N4 methyltransferases: in vivo coexistence in the BcnI system and in vitro probing by hybrid formation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(7):1547-1557.
Sequence analysis of the BcnI restriction-modification system from Bacillus centrosporus revealed four open reading frames (bcnIC, bcnIR, bcnIB and bcnIA) that are arranged as two converging collinear pairs. One pair encodes a putative small regulatory protein, C.BcnI, and the restriction endonuclease R.BcnI. The other two gene products are the DNA cytosine-N4 methyltransferases M.BcnIA and M.BcnIB, which differ by circular permutation of conserved sequence motifs. The BcnI methyltransferases are isospecific on double-stranded DNA [methylation specificity CC(C/G)GG], but M.BcnIA can also methylate the target sites in single-stranded DNA. Functional analysis shows that bcnIA is dispensable (bcnIB is capable of protecting the DNA against the in vivo activity of bcnIR); in contrast, no stable clones were obtained if bcnIB alone was deleted from the system. By analogy with the DpnII system, the second methylase M.BcnIA may play a role in the transformation proficiency of its gram-positive host. The interchangeability of homologous elements in the β class of cytosine-N4 methylases was probed by hybrid formation between M.BcnIB and its closest homolog M.Cfr9I (CCCGGG) employing a novel semi-random strategy combined with selection for catalytic activity. The fusion points in the active hybrids mapped in a narrow region located between sequence motifs X and I. Our data illustrate that recombination of two related sequences by circular permutation may serve as an evolutionary mechanism for creating new specificities of amino MTases.
PMCID: PMC101829  PMID: 11917015
3.  Specificities of Eleven Different DNA Methyltransferases of Helicobacter pylori Strain 26695 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(2):443-450.
Methyltransferases (MTases) of procaryotes affect general cellular processes such as mismatch repair, regulation of transcription, replication, and transposition, and in some cases may be essential for viability. As components of restriction-modification systems, they contribute to bacterial genetic diversity. The genome of Helicobacter pylori strain 26695 contains 25 open reading frames encoding putative DNA MTases. To assess which MTase genes are active, strain 26695 genomic DNA was tested for cleavage by 147 restriction endonucleases; 24 were found that did not cleave this DNA. The specificities of 11 expressed MTases and the genes encoding them were identified from this restriction data, combined with the known sensitivities of restriction endonucleases to specific DNA modification, homology searches, gene cloning and genomic mapping of the methylated bases m4C, m5C, and m6A.
PMCID: PMC94898  PMID: 11133936
4.  Cloning and analysis of the four genes coding for Bpu10I restriction-modification enzymes. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1998;26(4):1084-1091.
The Bpu 10I R-M system from Bacillus pumilus 10, which recognizes the asymmetric 5'-CCTNAGC sequence, has been cloned, sequenced and expressed in Escherichia coli . The system comprises four adjacent, similarly oriented genes encoding two m5C MTases and two subunits of Bpu 10I ENase (34.5 and 34 kDa). Both bpu10IR genes either in cis or trans are needed for the manifestation of R. Bpu 10I activity. Subunits of R. Bpu 10I, purified to apparent homogeneity, are both required for cleavage activity. This heterosubunit structure distinguishes the Bpu 10I restriction endonuclease from all other type II restriction enzymes described previously. The subunits reveal 25% amino acid identity. Significant similarity was also identified between a 43 amino acid region of R. Dde I and one of the regions of higher identity shared between the Bpu 10I subunits, a region that could possibly include the catalytic/Mg2+binding center. The similarity between Bpu 10I and Dde I MTases is not limited to the conserved motifs (CM) typical for m5C MTases. It extends into the variable region that lies between CMs VIII and IX. Duplication of a progenitor gene, encoding an enzyme recognizing a symmetric nucleotide sequence, followed by concerted divergent evolution, may provide a possible scenario leading to the emergence of the Bpu 10I ENase, which recognizes an overall asymmetric sequence and cleaves within it symmetrically.
PMCID: PMC147350  PMID: 9461472
5.  Cloning and analysis of the genes encoding the type IIS restriction-modification system HphI from Haemophilus parahaemolyticus. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1996;24(14):2760-2766.
The genomic region encoding the type IIS restriction-modification (R-M) system HphI (enzymes recognizing the asymmetric sequence 5'-GGTGA-3'/5'-TCACC-3') from Haemophilus parahaemolyticus were cloned into Escherichia coli and sequenced. Sequence analysis of the R-M HphI system revealed three adjacent genes aligned in the same orientation: a cytosine 5 methyltransferase (gene hphIMC), an adenine N6 methyltransferase (hphIMA) and the HphI restriction endonuclease (gene hphIR). Either methyltransferase is capable of protecting plasmid DNA in vivo against the action of the cognate restriction endonuclease. hphIMA methylation renders plasmid DNA resistant to R.Hindill at overlapping sites, suggesting that the adenine methyltransferase modifies the 3'-terminal A residue on the GGTGA strand. Strong homology was found between the N-terminal part of the m6A methyltransferasease and an unidentified reading frame interrupted by an incomplete gaIE gene of Neisseria meningitidis. The HphI R-M genes are flanked by a copy of a 56 bp direct nucleotide repeat on each side. Similar sequences have also been identified in the non-coding regions of H.influenzae Rd DNA. Possible involvement of the repeat sequences in the mobility of the HphI R-M system is discussed.
PMCID: PMC146015  PMID: 8759008
6.  Sequence motifs characteristic of DNA[cytosine-N4]methyltransferases: similarity to adenine and cytosine-C5 DNA-methylases. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1989;17(23):9823-9832.
The sequences coding for DNA[cytosine-N4]methyltransferases MvaI (from Micrococcus varians RFL19) and Cfr9I (from Citrobacter freundii RFL9) have been determined. The predicted methylases are proteins of 454 and 300 amino acids, respectively. Primary structure comparison of M.Cfr9I and another m4C-forming methylase, M.Pvu II, revealed extended regions of homology. The sequence comparison of the three DNA[cytosine-N4]-methylases using originally developed software revealed two conserved patterns, DPF-GSGT and TSPPY, which were found similar also to those of adenine and DNA[cytosine-C5]-methylases. These data provided a basis for global alignment and classification of DNA-methylase sequences. Structural considerations led us to suggest that the first region could be the binding site of AdoMet, while the second is thought to be directly involved in the modification of the exocyclic amino group.
PMCID: PMC335216  PMID: 2690010
7.  Cloning and sequence analysis of the genes coding for Eco57I type IV restriction-modification enzymes. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1992;20(22):6051-6056.
A 6.3 kb fragment of E.coli RFL57 DNA coding for the type IV restriction-modification system Eco57I was cloned and expressed in E.coli RR1. A 5775 bp region of the cloned fragment was sequenced which contains three open reading frames (ORF). The methylase gene is 1623 bp long, corresponding to a protein of 543 amino acids (62 kDa); the endonuclease gene is 2991 bp in length (997 amino acids, 117 kDa). The two genes are transcribed convergently from different strands with their 3'-ends separated by 69 bp. The third short open reading frame (186 bp, 62 amino acids) has been identified, that precedes and overlaps by 7 nucleotides the ORF encoding the methylase. Comparison of the deduced Eco57I endonuclease and methylase amino acid sequences revealed three regions of significant similarity. Two of them resemble the conserved sequence motifs characteristic of the DNA[adenine-N6] methylases. The third one shares similarity with corresponding regions of the PaeR7I, TaqI, CviBIII, PstI, BamHI and HincII methylases. Homologs of this sequence are also found within the sequences of the PaeR7I, PstI and BamHI restriction endonucleases. This is the first example of a family of cognate restriction endonucleases and methylases sharing homologous regions. Analysis of the structural relationship suggests that the type IV enzymes represent an intermediate in the evolutionary pathway between the type III and type II enzymes.
PMCID: PMC334472  PMID: 1334261

Results 1-7 (7)