Biochemical and biophysical characterisation of the genetically engineered Type I restriction-modification system, EcoR124I NT

  • James Edward Nathan Taylor

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The EcoR124I NT restriction-modification (R-M) system contains the genes HsdS3, HsdM and HsdR. S3 encodes the N-terminal domain of the wild-type S subunit and has been shown to dimerise in solution (Smith et al., 1998). Following purification of the subunits of the EcoR124I NT R-M system, complexes of the methyltransferase S3/M and restriction endonuclease S3/M/R were formed and shown to have activity in vitro, methylating and hydrolysing a symmetrical DNA recognition sequence, respectively. The DNA mimic OCR (overcome classical restriction) protein inhibited the methyltransferase activity in vitro, with maximum inhibition at a 1: 2 molar ratio of (S3/M)2 to an ocr dimer. Dynamic light scattering (DLS), sedimentation equilibrium (SE) and sedimentation velocity (SV) experiments showed S3 to exist as a dimer and S11 (the central conserved domain of S) to exist as a tetramer in solution. M was found to be dimeric in solution, whilst the R protein was monomeric. A complex of S3/M was found to have a stoichiometry (S3/M)2 and a complex of S3/M/R had a stoichiometry of S3/M/R1, even when a 2: 1 molar ratio of R to S3/M, was added. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments provided values for the radius of gyration (Rg), which for S3 was comparable to that calculated for the recently published crystal structure of the S subunit from Methanococcus jannaschii (Kim et al., 2005). These experiments also showed a decrease in the Dmax in the presence of the 30 bp DNA recognition sequence from 200A to 140A, suggesting a similar conformational change in the positioning of the subunits as has been detected for the wild-type M. EcoR124I and a related type 1 1/2 system AhdI. This change following DNA binding was also observed by SV experiments. Furthermore ab initio modelling from the SANS data has provided a low-resolution structure for the EcoR124I NT MTase and its complex with DNA.

The DOI for this PhD thesis is
Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorGeorge Geoffrey Kneale (Supervisor)

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