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J Biol Chem. 2000 Oct 6;275(40):30878-85.

Novel subtype of type IIs restriction enzymes. BfiI endonuclease exhibits similarities to the EDTA-resistant nuclease Nuc of Salmonella typhimurium.

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  • 1Institute of Biotechnology, Graiciuno 8, Vilnius 2028, Lithuania.


The type IIs restriction enzyme BfiI recognizes the non-palindromic nucleotide sequence 5'-ACTGGG-3' and cleaves complementary DNA strands 5/4 nucleotides downstream of the recognition sequence. The genes coding for the BfiI restriction-modification (R-M) system were cloned/sequenced and biochemical characterization of BfiI restriction enzyme was performed. The BfiI R-M system contained three proteins: two N4-methylcytosine methyltransferases and a restriction enzyme. Sequencing of bisulfite-treated methylated DNA indicated that each methyltransferase modifies cytosines on opposite strands of the recognition sequence. The N-terminal part of the BfiI restriction enzyme amino acid sequence revealed intriguing similarities to an EDTA-resistant nuclease of Salmonella typhimurium. Biochemical analyses demonstrated that BfiI, like the nuclease of S. typhimurium, cleaves DNA in the absence of Mg(2+) ions and hydrolyzes an artificial substrate bis(p-nitrophenyl) phosphate. However, unlike the nonspecific S. typhimurium nuclease, BfiI restriction enzyme cleaves DNA specifically. We propose that the DNA-binding specificity of BfiI stems from the C-terminal part of the protein. The catalytic N-terminal subdomain of BfiI radically differs from that of type II restriction enzymes and is presumably similar to the EDTA-resistant nonspecific nuclease of S. typhimurium; therefore, BfiI did not require metal ions for catalysis. We suggest that BfiI represents a novel subclass of type IIs restriction enzymes that differs from the archetypal FokI endonuclease by the fold of its cleavage domain, the domain location, and reaction mechanism.

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