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Acta Microbiol Pol. 2001;50(3-4):219-31.

A model of structure and action of Sau3AI restriction endonuclease that comprises two MutH-like endonuclease domains within a single polypeptide.

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Bioinformatics Laboratory, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw, Poland.


Sau3AI is a type II endonuclease that cleaves GATC sequences, producing sticky ends with 4-nucleotide 5'-overhangs. Its activity is inhibited by cytosine C5-methylation within the target sequence. In the N-terminus, Sau3AI exhibits sequence similarity to the GATC-specific single-strand nicking endonuclease MutH implicated in mismatch repair (Ban and Yang, 1998). Sequence analysis of Sau3AI and its homologs reveals that Sau3AI possesses an additional MutH-like domain in the C-terminus. Structure prediction suggests that the C-terminal domain lacks the endonuclease active site but retains all putative DNA-binding elements. As an illustration of these findings, a model of quaternary structure of Sau3AI complexed with the target DNA is presented. These predictions have implications for evolution, structure and function of bacterial DNA repair enzymes and restriction endonucleases.

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