Temperature-sensitive mutants of the EcoRI endonuclease.
The EcoRI endonuclease is an important recombinant DNA tool and a paradigm of sequence-specific DNA-protein interactions. We have isolated temperature-sensitive (TS) EcoRI endonuclease mutants (R56Q, G78D, P90S, V97I, R105K, M157I, C218Y, A235E, M255I, T261I and L263F) and characterized activity in vivo and in vitro. Although the majority were TS for function in vivo, all of the mutant enzymes were stably expressed and largely soluble at both 30 degrees C and 42 degrees C in vivo and none of the mutants was found to be TS in vitro. These findings suggest that these mutations may affect folding of the enzyme at elevated temperature in vivo. Both non-conservative and conservative substitutions occurred but were not correlated with severity of the mutation. Of the 12 residues identified, 11 are conserved between EcoRI and the isoschizomer RsrI (which shares 50% identity), a further indication that these residues are critical for EcoRI structure and function. Inspection of the 2.8 A resolution X-ray crystal structure of the wild-type EcoRI endonuclease-DNA complex revealed that: (1) the TS mutations cluster in one half of the globular enzyme; (2) several of the substituted residues interact with each other; (3) most mutations would be predicted to disrupt local structures; (4) two mutations may affect the dimer interface (G78D and A235E); (5) one mutation (P90S) occurred in a residue that is part of, or immediately adjacent to, the EcoRI active site and which is conserved in the distantly related EcoRV endonuclease. Finally, one class of mutants restricted phage in vivo and was active in vitro, whereas a second class did not restrict and was inactive in vitro. The two classes of mutants may differ in kinetic properties or cleavage mechanism. In summary, these mutations provide insights into EcoRI structure and function, and complement previous genetic, biochemical, and structural analyses.
Muir, RS; Flores, H; Zinder, ND; Model, P; Soberon, X; Heitman, J
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