Nucleic acids research

DNA base flipping by both members of the PspGI restriction-modification system.

PMID 18718929


The PspGI restriction-modification system recognizes the sequence CCWGG. R.PspGI cuts DNA before the first C in the cognate sequence and M.PspGI is thought to methylate N4 of one of the cytosines in the sequence. M.PspGI enhances fluorescence of 2-aminopurine in DNA if it replaces the second C in the sequence, while R.PspGI enhances fluorescence when the fluorophore replaces adenine in the central base pair. This strongly suggests that the methyltransferase flips the second C in the recognition sequence, while the endonuclease flips both bases in the central base pair out of the duplex. M.PspGI is the first N4-cytosine MTase for which biochemical evidence for base flipping has been presented. It is also the first type IIP methyltransferase whose catalytic activity is strongly stimulated by divalent metal ions. However, divalent metal ions are not required for its base-flipping activity. In contrast, these ions are required for both base flipping and catalysis by the endonuclease. The two enzymes have similar temperature profiles for base flipping and optimal flipping occurs at temperatures substantially below the growth temperature of the source organism for PspGI and for the catalytic activity of endonuclease. We discuss the implications of these results for DNA binding by these enzymes and their evolutionary origin.