The crystal structure of the LlaJI.R1 N-terminal domain provides a model for site-specific DNA binding.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Biol Chem, Volume 293, Issue 30, p.11758-11771 (2018)


<p>Restriction modification systems consist of an endonuclease that cleaves foreign DNA site-specifically and an associated methyltransferase that protects the corresponding target site in the host genome. Modification-dependent restriction systems, in contrast, specifically recognize and cleave methylated and/or glucosylated DNA. The LlaJI restriction system contains two 5-methylcytosine (5mC) methyltransferases (LlaJI.M1 and LlaJI.M2) and two restriction proteins (LlaJI.R1 and LlaJI.R2). LlaJI.R1 and LlaJI.R2 are homologs of McrB and McrC, respectively, which in function together as a modification-dependent restriction complex specific for 5mC-containing DNA. LlaJI.R1 binds DNA site-specifically, suggesting that the LlaJI system uses a different mode of substrate recognition. Here we present the structure of the N-terminal DNA-binding domain of LlaJI.R1 at 1.97-Å resolution, which adopts a B3 domain fold. Structural comparison to B3 domains in plant transcription factors and other restriction enzymes identifies key recognition motifs responsible for site-specific DNA binding. Moreover, biochemistry and structural modeling provide a rationale for how LlaJI.R1 may bind a target site that differs from the 5-bp sequence recognized by other LlaJI homologs and identify residues critical for this recognition activity. These findings underscore the inherent structural plasticity of B3 domains, allowing recognition of a variety of substrates using the same structural core.</p>