Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)

A 7-Deazaadenosylaziridine Cofactor for Sequence-Specific Labeling of DNA by the DNA Cytosine-C5 Methyltransferase M.HhaI.

PMID 26610450


DNA methyltransferases (MTases) catalyze the transfer of the activated methyl group of the cofactor S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet or SAM) to the exocyclic amino groups of adenine or cytosine or the C5 ring atom of cytosine within specific DNA sequences. The DNA adenine-N6 MTase from Thermus aquaticus (M.TaqI) is also capable of coupling synthetic N-adenosylaziridine cofactor analogues to its target adenine within the double-stranded 5'-TCGA-3' sequence. This M.TaqI-mediated coupling reaction was exploited to sequence-specifically deliver fluorophores and biotin to DNA using N-adenosylaziridine derivatives carrying reporter groups at the 8-position of the adenine ring. However, these 8-modified aziridine cofactors were poor substrates for the DNA cytosine-C5 MTase from Haemophilus haemolyticus (M.HhaI). Based on the crystal structure of M.HhaI in complex with a duplex oligodeoxynucleotide and the cofactor product, we synthesized a stable 7-deazaadenosylaziridine derivative with a biotin group attached to the 7-position via a flexible linker. This 7-modified aziridine cofactor can be efficiently used by M.HhaI for the direct, quantitative and sequence-specific delivery of biotin to the second cytosine within 5'-GCGC-3' sequences in short duplex oligodeoxynucleotides and plasmid DNA. In addition, we demonstrate that biotinylation by M.HhaI depends on the methylation status of the target cytosine and, thus, could provide a method for cytosine-C5 DNA methylation detection in mammalian DNA.