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EMBO J. 1998 Sep 15; 17(18): 5477–5483.
PMCID: PMC1170873

McrBs, a modulator peptide for McrBC activity.


McrBC is a methylation-dependent endonuclease from Escherichia coli K-12. The enzyme recognizes DNA with modified cytosines preceded by a purine. McrBC restricts DNA that contains at least two methylated recognition sites separated by 40-80 bp. Two gene products, McrBL and McrBs, are produced from the mcrB gene and one, McrC, from the mcrC gene. DNA cleavage in vitro requires McrBL, McrC, GTP and Mg2+. We found that DNA cleavage was optimal at a ratio of 3-5 McrBL per molecule of McrC, suggesting that formation of a multisubunit complex with several molecules of McrBL is required for cleavage. To understand the role of McrBs, we have purified the protein and analyzed its role in vitro. At the optimal ratio of 3-5 McrBL per molecule of McrC, McrBs acted as an inhibitor of DNA cleavage. Inhibition was due to sequestration of McrC and required the presence of GTP, suggesting that the interaction is GTP dependent. If McrC was in excess, a condition resulting in suboptimal DNA cleavage, addition of McrBs enhanced DNA cleavage, presumably due to sequestration of excess McrC. We suggest that the role of McrBs is to modulate McrBC activity by binding to McrC.

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Selected References

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