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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Identification of the binding site for the extrahelical target base in N6-adenine DNA methyltransferases by photo-cross-linking with duplex oligodeoxyribonucleotides containing 5-iodouracil at the target position.

DNA methyltransferases flip their target bases out of the DNA double helix for catalysis. Base flipping of C5-cytosine DNA methyltransferases was directly observed in the protein-DNA cocrystal structures of M.HhaI and M.HaeIII. Indirect structural evidence for base flipping of N6-adenine and N4-cytosine DNA methyltransferases was obtained by modeling DNA into the three-dimensional structures of M.TaqI and M.PvuII in complex with the cofactor. In addition, biochemical evidence of base flipping was reported for different N6-adenine DNA methyltransferases. As no protein-DNA cocrystal structure for the related N6-adenine and N4-cytosine DNA methyltransferases is available, we used light-induced photochemical cross-linking to identify the binding site of the extrahelical target bases. The N6-adenine DNA methyltransferases M.TaqI and M.CviBIII, which both methylate adenine within the double-stranded 5'-TCGA-3' DNA sequence, were photo-cross-linked to duplex oligodeoxyribonucleotides containing 5-iodouracil at the target position in 50-60% and almost quantitative yield, respectively. Proteolytic fragmentation of the M. CviBIII-DNA complex followed by Edman degradation and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry indicates photo-cross-linking to tyrosine 122. In addition, the mutant methyltransferases M. TaqI/Y108A and M.TaqI/F196A were photo-cross-linked with 6-fold and 2-fold reduced efficiency, respectively, which suggests that tyrosine 108 is the primary site of modification in M.TaqI. Our results indicate a close proximity between the extrahelical target base and tyrosine 122 in M.CviBIII or tyrosine 108 in M.TaqI. As both residues belong to the conserved motif IV ((N/D/S)(P/I)P(Y/F/W)) found in all N6-adenine and N4-cytosine DNA as well as in N6-adenine RNA methyltransferases, a similar spatial relationship between the target bases and the aromatic amino acid residue within motif IV is expected for all these methyltransferases.[1]


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