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1.  Cofactor analogue-induced chemical reactivation of endonuclease activity in a DNA cleavage/methylation deficient TspGWI N473A variant in the NPPY motif 
Molecular Biology Reports  2014;41:2313-2323.
We reported previously that TspGWI, a prototype enzyme of a new Thermus sp. family of restriction endonucleases-methyltransferases (REases-MTases), undergoes the novel phenomenon of sinefungin (SIN)-caused specificity transition. Here we investigated mutant TspGWI N473A, containing a single amino acid (aa) substitution in the NPPY motif of the MTase. Even though the aa substitution is located within the MTase polypeptide segment, DNA cleavage and modification are almost completely abolished, indicating that the REase and MTase are intertwined. Remarkably, the TspGWI N473A REase functionality can be completely reconstituted by the addition of SIN. We hypothesize that SIN binds specifically to the enzyme and restores the DNA cleavage-competent protein tertiary structure. This indicates the significant role of allosteric effectors in DNA cleavage in Thermus sp. enzymes. This is the first case of REase mutation suppression by an S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) cofactor analogue. Moreover, the TspGWI N473A clone strongly affects E. coli division control, acting as a ‘selfish gene’. The mutant lacks the competing MTase activity and therefore might be useful for applications in DNA manipulation. Here we present a case study of a novel strategy for REase activity/specificity alteration by a single aa substitution, based on the bioinformatic analysis of active motif locations, combining (a) aa sequence engineering (b) the alteration of protein enzymatic properties, and (c) the use of cofactor–analogue cleavage reconstitution and stimulation.
doi:10.1007/s11033-014-3085-x
PMCID: PMC3968444  PMID: 24442320
Endonuclease-methyltransferase; Thermus sp. enzyme; Enzymatic reaction cofactor; Cofactor analogue; Sinefungin; S-adenosylmethione; Mutant activation; Specificity change
2.  Modified ‘one amino acid-one codon’ engineering of high GC content TaqII-coding gene from thermophilic Thermus aquaticus results in radical expression increase 
Background
An industrial approach to protein production demands maximization of cloned gene expression, balanced with the recombinant host’s viability. Expression of toxic genes from thermophiles poses particular difficulties due to high GC content, mRNA secondary structures, rare codon usage and impairing the host’s coding plasmid replication.
TaqII belongs to a family of bifunctional enzymes, which are a fusion of the restriction endonuclease (REase) and methyltransferase (MTase) activities in a single polypeptide. The family contains thermostable REases with distinct specificities: TspGWI, TaqII, Tth111II/TthHB27I, TspDTI and TsoI and a few enzymes found in mesophiles. While not being isoschizomers, the enzymes exhibit amino acid (aa) sequence homologies, having molecular sizes of ~120 kDa share common modular architecture, resemble Type-I enzymes, cleave DNA 11/9 nt from the recognition sites, their activity is affected by S-adenosylmethionine (SAM).
Results
We describe the taqIIRM gene design, cloning and expression of the prototype TaqII. The enzyme amount in natural hosts is extremely low. To improve expression of the taqIIRM gene in Escherichia coli (E. coli), we designed and cloned a fully synthetic, low GC content, low mRNA secondary structure taqIIRM, codon-optimized gene under a bacteriophage lambda (λ) P R promoter. Codon usage based on a modified ‘one amino acid–one codon’ strategy, weighted towards low GC content codons, resulted in approximately 10-fold higher expression of the synthetic gene. 718 codons of total 1105 were changed, comprising 65% of the taqIIRM gene. The reason for we choose a less effective strategy rather than a resulting in high expression yields ‘codon randomization’ strategy, was intentional, sub-optimal TaqII in vivo production, in order to decrease the high ‘toxicity’ of the REase-MTase protein.
Conclusions
Recombinant wt and synthetic taqIIRM gene were cloned and expressed in E. coli. The modified ‘one amino acid–one codon’ method tuned for thermophile-coded genes was applied to obtain overexpression of the ‘toxic’ taqIIRM gene. The method appears suited for industrial production of thermostable ‘toxic’ enzymes in E. coli. This novel variant of the method biased toward increasing a gene’s AT content may provide economic benefits for industrial applications.
doi:10.1186/1475-2859-13-7
PMCID: PMC3893498  PMID: 24410856
3.  Three-stage biochemical selection: cloning of prototype class IIS/IIC/IIG restriction endonuclease-methyltransferase TsoI from the thermophile Thermus scotoductus 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:17.
Background
In continuing our research into the new family of bifunctional restriction endonucleases (REases), we describe the cloning of the tsoIRM gene. Currently, the family includes six thermostable enzymes: TaqII, Tth111II, TthHB27I, TspGWI, TspDTI, TsoI, isolated from various Thermus sp. and two thermolabile enzymes: RpaI and CchII, isolated from mesophilic bacteria Rhodopseudomonas palustris and Chlorobium chlorochromatii, respectively. The enzymes have several properties in common. They are large proteins (molecular size app. 120 kDa), coded by fused genes, with the REase and methyltransferase (MTase) in a single polypeptide, where both activities are affected by S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). They recognize similar asymmetric cognate sites and cleave at a distance of 11/9 nt from the recognition site. Thus far, we have cloned and characterised TaqII, Tth111II, TthHB27I, TspGWI and TspDTI.
Results
TsoI REase, which originate from thermophilic Thermus scotoductus RFL4 (T. scotoductus), was cloned in Escherichia coli (E. coli) using two rounds of biochemical selection of the T. scotoductus genomic library for the TsoI methylation phenotype. DNA sequencing of restriction-resistant clones revealed the common open reading frame (ORF) of 3348 bp, coding for a large polypeptide of 1116 aminoacid (aa) residues, which exhibited a high level of similarity to Tth111II (50% identity, 60% similarity). The ORF was PCR-amplified, subcloned into a pET21 derivative under the control of a T7 promoter and was subjected to the third round of biochemical selection in order to isolate error-free clones. Induction experiments resulted in synthesis of an app. 125 kDa protein, exhibiting TsoI-specific DNA cleavage. Also, the wild-type (wt) protein was purified and reaction optima were determined.
Conclusions
Previously we identified and cloned the Thermus family RM genes using a specially developed method based on partial proteolysis of thermostable REases. In the case of TsoI the classic biochemical selection method was successful, probably because of the substantially lower optimal reaction temperature of TsoI (app. 10-15°C). That allowed for sufficient MTase activity in vivo in recombinant E. coli. Interestingly, TsoI originates from bacteria with a high optimum growth temperature of 67°C, which indicates that not all bacterial enzymes match an organism’s thermophilic nature, and yet remain functional cell components. Besides basic research advances, the cloning and characterisation of the new prototype REase from the Thermus sp. family enzymes is also of practical importance in gene manipulation technology, as it extends the range of available DNA cleavage specificities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-14-17
PMCID: PMC3751577  PMID: 23919831
4.  A new genomic tool, ultra-frequently cleaving TaqII/sinefungin endonuclease with a combined 2.9-bp recognition site, applied to the construction of horse DNA libraries 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:370.
Background
Genomics and metagenomics are currently leading research areas, with DNA sequences accumulating at an exponential rate. Although enormous advances in DNA sequencing technologies are taking place, progress is frequently limited by factors such as genomic contig assembly and generation of representative libraries. A number of DNA fragmentation methods, such as hydrodynamic sharing, sonication or DNase I fragmentation, have various drawbacks, including DNA damage, poor fragmentation control, irreproducibility and non-overlapping DNA segment representation. Improvements in these limited DNA scission methods are consequently needed. An alternative method for obtaining higher quality DNA fragments involves partial digestion with restriction endonucleases (REases).
We have shown previously that class-IIS/IIC/IIG TspGWI REase, the prototype member of the Thermus sp. enzyme family, can be chemically relaxed by a cofactor analogue, allowing it to recognize very short DNA sequences of 3-bp combined frequency. Such frequently cleaving REases are extremely rare, with CviJI/CviJI*, SetI and FaiI the only other ones found in nature. Their unusual features make them very useful molecular tools for the development of representative DNA libraries.
Results
We constructed a horse genomic library and a deletion derivative library of the butyrylcholinesterase cDNA coding region using a novel method, based on TaqII, Thermus sp. family bifunctional enzyme exhibiting cofactor analogue specificity relaxation. We used sinefungin (SIN) – an S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) analogue with reversed charge pattern, and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), to convert the 6-bp recognition site TaqII (5′-GACCGA-3′ [11/9]) into a theoretical 2.9-bp REase, with 70 shortened variants of the canonical recognition sequence detected. Because partial DNA cleavage is an inherent feature of the Thermus sp. enzyme family, this modified TaqII is uniquely suited to quasi-random library generation.
Conclusions
In the presence of SIN/DMSO, TaqII REase is transformed from cleaving every 4096 bp on average to cleaving every 58 bp. TaqII SIN/DMSO thus extends the palette of available REase prototype specificities. This phenomenon, employed under partial digestion conditions, was applied to quasi-random DNA fragmentation. Further applications include high sensitivity probe generation and metagenomic DNA amplification.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-370
PMCID: PMC3681635  PMID: 23724933
5.  Related bifunctional restriction endonuclease-methyltransferase triplets: TspDTI, Tth111II/TthHB27I and TsoI with distinct specificities 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:13.
Background
We previously defined a family of restriction endonucleases (REases) from Thermus sp., which share common biochemical and biophysical features, such as the fusion of both the nuclease and methyltransferase (MTase) activities in a single polypeptide, cleavage at a distance from the recognition site, large molecular size, modulation of activity by S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), and incomplete cleavage of the substrate DNA. Members include related thermophilic REases with five distinct specificities: TspGWI, TaqII, Tth111II/TthHB27I, TspDTI and TsoI.
Results
TspDTI, TsoI and isoschizomers Tth111II/TthHB27I recognize different, but related sequences: 5'-ATGAA-3', 5'-TARCCA-3' and 5'-CAARCA-3' respectively. Their amino acid sequences are similar, which is unusual among REases of different specificity. To gain insight into this group of REases, TspDTI, the prototype member of the Thermus sp. enzyme family, was cloned and characterized using a recently developed method for partially cleaving REases.
Conclusions
TspDTI, TsoI and isoschizomers Tth111II/TthHB27I are closely related bifunctional enzymes. They comprise a tandem arrangement of Type I-like domains, like other Type IIC enzymes (those with a fusion of a REase and MTase domains), e.g. TspGWI, TaqII and MmeI, but their sequences are only remotely similar to these previously characterized enzymes. The characterization of TspDTI, a prototype member of this group, extends our understanding of sequence-function relationships among multifunctional restriction-modification enzymes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-13-13
PMCID: PMC3384240  PMID: 22489904
6.  Cloning and analysis of a bifunctional methyltransferase/restriction endonuclease TspGWI, the prototype of a Thermus sp. enzyme family 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:52.
Background
Restriction-modification systems are a diverse class of enzymes. They are classified into four major types: I, II, III and IV. We have previously proposed the existence of a Thermus sp. enzyme family, which belongs to type II restriction endonucleases (REases), however, it features also some characteristics of types I and III. Members include related thermophilic endonucleases: TspGWI, TaqII, TspDTI, and Tth111II.
Results
Here we describe cloning, mutagenesis and analysis of the prototype TspGWI enzyme that recognises the 5'-ACGGA-3' site and cleaves 11/9 nt downstream. We cloned, expressed, and mutagenised the tspgwi gene and investigated the properties of its product, the bifunctional TspGWI restriction/modification enzyme. Since TspGWI does not cleave DNA completely, a cloning method was devised, based on amino acid sequencing of internal proteolytic fragments. The deduced amino acid sequence of the enzyme shares significant sequence similarity with another representative of the Thermus sp. family – TaqII. Interestingly, these enzymes recognise similar, yet different sequences in the DNA. Both enzymes cleave DNA at the same distance, but differ in their ability to cleave single sites and in the requirement of S-adenosylmethionine as an allosteric activator for cleavage. Both the restriction endonuclease (REase) and methyltransferase (MTase) activities of wild type (wt) TspGWI (either recombinant or isolated from Thermus sp.) are dependent on the presence of divalent cations.
Conclusion
TspGWI is a bifunctional protein comprising a tandem arrangement of Type I-like domains; particularly noticeable is the central HsdM-like module comprising a helical domain and a highly conserved S-adenosylmethionine-binding/catalytic MTase domain, containing DPAVGTG and NPPY motifs. TspGWI also possesses an N-terminal PD-(D/E)XK nuclease domain related to the corresponding domains in HsdR subunits, but lacks the ATP-dependent translocase module of the HsdR subunit and the additional domains that are involved in subunit-subunit interactions in Type I systems. The MTase and REase activities of TspGWI are autonomous and can be uncoupled. Structurally and functionally, the TspGWI protomer appears to be a streamlined 'half' of a Type I enzyme.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-10-52
PMCID: PMC2700111  PMID: 19480701

Results 1-6 (6)