Protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions in the type I restriction endonuclease R.EcoR124I

Darren Mernagh, P. Janscak, K. Firman, Geoff Kneale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The type I restriction-modification system EcoR124I recognizes and binds to the split DNA recognition sequence 5'-GAAN(6)RTCG-3'. The methyltransferase, consisting of HsdM and HsdS subunits with the composition M2S, can interact with one or more subunits of the HsdR subunit to form the endonuclease. The interaction of the methyltransferase with HsdR has been investigated by surface plasmon resonance, showing that there are two non-equivalent binding sites for HsdR which differ in binding affinity by at least two orders of magnitude. DNA footprinting experiments using Exonuclease III suggest that the addition of HsdR to the methyltransferase (at a stoichiometry of either 1:1 or 2:1) increases the stability of the resulting DNA-protein complex but does not increase the size of the footprint. More extensive in situ footprinting experiments using copper-phenanthroline on the DNA-protein complexes formed by M2S, R1M2S and R2M2S also show no difference in the detailed cleavage pattern, with approximately 18 nucleotides protected on both strands in each complex. Thus the HsdR subunit(s) of the endonuclease stabilise the interaction of the M2S complex with DNA, but do not directly contribute to DNA binding. In addition, the thymidine nucleotide in the tetranucleotide recognition sequence GTCG is hyper-reactive to cleavage in each case, suggesting that the DNA structure in this region is altered in these complexes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-503
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Chemistry
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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