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J Mol Biol. 1983 May 5;166(1):1-19.

Sequence diversity among related genes for recognition of specific targets in DNA molecules.


Escherichia coli strains K12 and B, and a new strain designated D, each encode a characteristic restriction and modification enzyme. These enzymes (EcoK, EcoB and presumably EcoD) comprise three subunits of which one, that encoded by the so-called specificity gene (hsdS), is responsible for recognition of the DNA sequence specific to that system. The other two subunits, encoded by hsdR and hsdM, are interchangeable between systems, and the available molecular evidence suggests that the hsdR and hsdM genes are highly conserved. The DNA sequence of a segment of the hsd region that includes the hsdS gene has been determined for each of the three strains. The hsdS gene varies in length from 1335 to 1425 base-pairs and the only regions showing obvious homology, one of about 100 base-pairs and a second of about 250 base-pairs, are highly conserved. The remainder of each hsd S gene shares little, or no, homology with either of the other related specificity genes. Thus, the specificity subunits, though components of a family of closely related enzymes with very similar functions, have remarkably dissimilar primary structure.

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