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DNA bending by M.EcoKI methyltransferase is coupled to nucleotide flipping

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http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/10/3235
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3235-3244
Number of pages10
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Volume33
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

Abstract

The maintenance methyltransferase M.EcoKI recognizes the bipartite DNA sequence 5'-A (A) under bar CNNN-NNNG (T) under bar GC-3', where N is any nucleotide. M.EcoKI preferentially methylates a sequence already containing a methylated adenine at or complementary to the underlined bases in the sequence. We find that the introduction of a single-stranded gap in the middle of the non-specific spacer, of up to 4 nt in length, does not reduce the binding affinity of M.EcoKI despite the removal of non-sequence-specific contacts between the protein and the DNA phosphate backbone. Surprisingly, binding affinity is enhanced in a manner predicted by simple polymer models of DNA flexibility. However, the activity of the enzyme declines to zero once the single-stranded region reaches 4 nt in length. This indicates that the recognition of methylation of the DNA is communicated between the two methylation targets not only through the protein structure but also through the DNA structure. Furthermore, methylation recognition requires base flipping in which the bases targeted for methylation are swung out of the DNA helix into the enzyme. By using 2-aminopurine fluorescence as the base flipping probe we find that, although flipping occurs for the intact duplex, no flipping is observed upon introduction of a gap. Our data and polymer model indicate that M.EcoKI bends the non-specific spacer and that the energy stored in a double-stranded bend is utilized to force or flip out the bases. This energy is not stored in gapped duplexes. In this way, M.EcoKI can determine the methylation status of two adenine bases separated by a considerable distance in double-stranded DNA and select the required enzymatic response.

    Research areas

  • SINGLE-STRANDED-DNA, PAPILLOMAVIRUS E2 PROTEINS, LARGE STRUCTURAL DISTORTION, RESTRICTION/MODIFICATION ENZYME, ECOKI METHYLTRANSFERASE, DEPENDENT DIFFERENCES, RECOGNITION SEQUENCE, I METHYLTRANSFERASE, MUTATIONAL ANALYSIS, PERSISTENCE LENGTH

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