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J Mol Biol. 2003 Jul 4;330(2):359-72.

Isolation of BsoBI restriction endonuclease variants with altered substrate specificity.

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New England Biolabs, Inc., 32 Tozer Road, Beverly, MA 01915, USA.


BsoBI is a thermophilic restriction endonuclease that cleaves the degenerate DNA sequence C/PyCGPuG (where/=the cleavage site and Py=C or T, Pu=A or G). In the BsoBI-DNA co-crystal structure the D246 residue makes a water-mediated hydrogen bond to N6 of the degenerate base adenine and was proposed to make a complementary bond to O6 of the alternative guanine residue. To investigate the substrate specificity conferred by D246 and to potentially alter BsoBI specificity, the D246 residue was changed to the other 19 amino acids. Variants D246A, D246C, D246E, D246R, D246S, D246T, and D246Y were purified and their cleavage activity determined. Variants D246A, D246S, and D246T display 0.2% to 0.7% of the wild-type cleavage activity. However, the substrate specificity of the three variants is altered significantly. D246A, D246S, and D246T cleave CTCGAG sites poorly. In filter binding assays using oligonucleotides, wild-type BsoBI shows almost equal affinity for CTCGAG and CCCGGG sites. In contrast, the D246A variant shows 70-fold greater binding affinity for the CCCGGG substrate. Recycled mutagenesis was carried out on the D246A variant, and revertants with enhanced activity were isolated by their dark blue phenotype on a dinD Colon, two colons lacZ DNA damage indicator strain. Most of the amino acid substitutions present within the revertants were located outside the DNA-protein interface. This study demonstrates that endonuclease mutants with altered specificity and non-lethal activity can be evolved towards more active variants using a laboratory evolution strategy.

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