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Nucleic Acids Res. 1999 Jul 1;27(13):2638-43.

Single amino acid substitutions in the HsdR subunit of the type IB restriction enzyme EcoAI uncouple the DNA translocation and DNA cleavage activities of the enzyme.

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Department of Microbiology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, CH-4056, Switzerland.


Type I restriction enzymes bind to specific DNA sequences but subsequently translocate non-specific DNA past the complex in a reaction coupled to ATP hydrolysis and cleave DNA at any barrier that can halt the translocation process. The restriction subunit of these enzymes, HsdR, contains a cluster of seven amino acid sequence motifs typical of helicase superfamily II, that are believed to be relevant to the ATP-dependent DNA translocation. Alignment of all available HsdR sequences reveals an additional conserved region at the protein N-terminus with a consensus sequence reminiscent of the P-D.(D/E)-X-K catalytic motif of many type II restriction enzymes. To investigate the role of these conserved residues, we have produced mutants of the type IB restriction enzyme Eco AI. We have found that single alanine substitutions at Asp-61, Glu-76 and Lys-78 residues of the HsdR subunit abolished the enzyme's restriction activity but had no effect on its ATPase and DNA translocation activities, suggesting that these residues are part of the active site for DNA cleavage.

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