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1.  RNA:(guanine-N2) methyltransferases RsmC/RsmD and their homologs revisited – bioinformatic analysis and prediction of the active site based on the uncharacterized Mj0882 protein structure 
BMC Bioinformatics  2002;3:10.
Escherichia coli guanine-N2 (m2G) methyltransferases (MTases) RsmC and RsmD modify nucleosides G1207 and G966 of 16S rRNA. They possess a common MTase domain in the C-terminus and a variable region in the N-terminus. Their C-terminal domain is related to the YbiN family of hypothetical MTases, but nothing is known about the structure or function of the N-terminal domain.
Using a combination of sequence database searches and fold recognition methods it has been demonstrated that the N-termini of RsmC and RsmD are related to each other and that they represent a "degenerated" version of the C-terminal MTase domain. Novel members of the YbiN family from Archaea and Eukaryota were also indentified. It is inferred that YbiN and both domains of RsmC and RsmD are closely related to a family of putative MTases from Gram-positive bacteria and Archaea, typified by the Mj0882 protein from M. jannaschii (1dus in PDB). Based on the results of sequence analysis and structure prediction, the residues involved in cofactor binding, target recognition and catalysis were identified, and the mechanism of the guanine-N2 methyltransfer reaction was proposed.
Using the known Mj0882 structure, a comprehensive analysis of sequence-structure-function relationships in the family of genuine and putative m2G MTases was performed. The results provide novel insight into the mechanism of m2G methylation and will serve as a platform for experimental analysis of numerous uncharacterized N-MTases.
PMCID: PMC102759  PMID: 11929612
2.  Sequence permutations in the molecular evolution of DNA methyltransferases 
DNA methyltransferases (MTases), unlike MTases acting on other substrates, exhibit sequence permutation. Based on the sequential order of the cofactor-binding subdomain, the catalytic subdomain, and the target recognition domain (TRD), several classes of permutants have been proposed. The majority of known DNA MTases fall into the α, β, and γ classes. There is only one member of the ζ class known and no members of the δ and ε classes have been identified to date. Two mechanisms of permutation have been proposed: one involving gene duplication and in-frame fusion, and the other involving inter- and intragenic shuffling of gene segments.
Two novel cases of sequence permutation in DNA MTases implicated in restriction-modification systems have been identified, which suggest that members of the δ and ζ classes (M.MwoI and M.TvoORF1413P, respectively) evolved from β-class MTases. This is the first identification of the δ-class MTase and the second known ζ-class MTase (the first ζ-class member among DNA:m4C and m6A-MTases).
Fragmentation of a DNA MTase gene may result from attack of nucleases, for instance when the RM system invades a new cell. Its reassembly into a functional form, the order of motifs notwithstanding, may be strongly selected for, if the cognate ENase gene remains active and poses a threat to the host's chromosome. The "cut-and-paste" mechanism is proposed for β-δ permutation, which is non-circular and involves relocation of one segment of a gene. The circular β-ζ permutation may be explained both by gene duplication or shuffling of gene fragments. These two mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and probably both played a role in the evolution of permuted DNA MTases.
PMCID: PMC102321  PMID: 11914127

Results 1-2 (2)