Title of Invention

"ISOLATED DNA CODING FOR MMEI-LIKE ENDONCLEASE, MMEI-LIKE POLYPEPTIDES AND A METHOD FOR PRODUCING THE SAME"

Abstract In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) fragment which encodes the Mmel type II like restriction endonuclease enzyme. These polypeptides possess two related enzymatic functions; namely an endonuclease activity which recognizes the DNA sequence 5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3' and cleaves as indicated by the arrows: 5 ' -TCCRAC (N20) ↓-3 '3'-AGGYTG(N18)T-5' and a second enzymatic activity that recognizes the same DNA sequence, 5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3', but modifies this sequence by the addition of a methyl group to prevent cleavage by the Mmel endonuclease activity.
Full Text BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) fragment, which fragment codes for one polypeptide possessing two related enzymatic functions, namely an enzyme which recognizes the DNA sequence 5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3' and cleaves the phosphodiester bond between the 20th and 21st residues 3' to this recognition sequence on this DNA strand, and between the 18th and 19th residues 5' to the recognition sequence on the complement strand 5'-GT(Py)GGT-3' to produce a 2 base 3' extension (hereinafter referred to as the Mmel restriction endonuclease), and a second enzymatic activity that recognizes the same DNA sequence, 5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3', but modifies this sequence by the addition of a methyl group to prevent cleavage by the Mmel endonuclease. The present invention also relates to a vector containing the DNA fragment, a transformed host containing this DNA fragment, and an improved process for producing Mmel restriction endonuclease from such a transformed host. The present invention also relates to a process for identifying additional DNA fragments that encode enzymes having the same general properties as Mmel but potentially having unique DNA recognition sequences. This process depends on the use of the amino acid sequence of the Mmel enzyme presented in this application, or subsequently on the additional sequences identified through this process. The invention also relates to additional DNA fragments, identifiable through the process described, each of which encodes a polypeptide having significant amino acid sequence similarity to the Mmel polypeptide. The polypeptides
encoded by these DNA fragments are predicted to perform similar functions to Mmel. Specifically, they are predicted to possess the dual enzymatic functions of cleaving DNA in a specific manner at a relatively far distance from the specific recognition sequence and also modifying their recognition sequences to protect the host DNA from cleavage by endonuclease activity. An example of such an enzyme identified by this process is
CstMI (see U.S. Application Serial No.: , filed
concurrently herewith). CstMI was identified as a potential endonuclease because of its highly significant amino acid sequence similarity to Mmel. CstMI recognizes the sequence 5'-AAGGAG-3'and cleaves the phosphodiester bond between the 20th and 21st residues 3' to the recognition sequence on this DNA strand, and between the 18th and 19th residues 5' to the recognition sequence on the complement strand 5'-CTCCTT-3' to produce a 2 base 3' extension.
Restriction endonucleases are a class of enzymes that occur naturally in prokaryotes. There are several classes of restriction systems known, of which the type II endonucleases are the class useful in genetic engineering. When these type II endonucleases are purified away from other contaminating prokarial components, they can be used in the laboratory to break DNA molecules into precise fragments. This property enables DNA molecules to be uniquely identified and to be fractionated into their constituent genes. Restriction endonucleases have proved to be indispensable tools in modern genetic research. They are the biochemical 'scissors' by means of which genetic engineering and analysis is performed.
Restriction endonucleases act by recognizing and binding to particular sequences of nucleotides (the 'recognition sequence') along the DNA molecule. Once bound, the type II endonucleases cleave the molecule within, or to one side of, the sequence. Different restriction endonucleases have affinity for different recognition sequences. The majority of restriction endonucleases recognize sequences of 4 to 6 nucleotides in length, although recently a small number of restriction endonucleases which recognize 7 or 8 uniquely specified nucleotides have been isolated. Most recognition sequences contain a dyad axis of symmetry and in most cases all the nucleotides are uniquely specified. However, some restriction endonucleases have degenerate or relaxed specificities in that they recognize multiple bases at one or more positions in their recognition sequence, and some restriction endonucleases recognize asymmetric sequences, HaeIII, which recognizes the sequence 5'-GGCC-3', is an example of a restriction endonuclease having a symmetrical, non-degenerate recognition sequence; Haell, which recognizes 5'-(Pu)GCGC(Py)-3' typifies restriction endonucleases having a degenerate or relaxed recognition sequence; while BspMI, which recognizes 5'-ACCTGC-3' typifies restriction endonucleases having an asymmetric recognition sequence. Type II endonucleases with symmetrical recognition sequences generally cleave symmetrically within or adjacent to the recognition site, while those that recognize asymmetric sequences tend to cleave at a distance of from 1 to 20 nucleotides to one side of the recognition site. The enzyme of this application, MmeI, (along with CstMI) has the distinction of cleaving the DNA at the farthest distance from the recognition sequence of any known type II restriction endonuclease. More than two hundred unique
restriction endonucleases have been identified among several thousands of bacterial species that have been examined to date.
A second component of restriction systems are the modification methylases. These enzymes are complementary to restriction endonucleases and they provide the means by which bacteria are able to protect their own DNA and distinguish it from foreign, infecting DNA. Modification methylases recognize and bind to the same nucleotide recognition sequence as the corresponding restriction endonuclease, but instead of breaking the DNA, they chemically modify one or other of the nucleotides within the sequence by the addition of a methyl group. Following methylation, the recognition sequence is no longer cleaved by the restriction endonuclease. The DNA of a bacterial cell is modified by virtue of the activity of its modification methylase and it is therefore insensitive to the presence of the endogenous restriction endonuclease. It is only unmodified, and therefore identifiably foreign, DNA that is sensitive to restriction endonuclease recognition and cleavage. Modification methyltransferases are usually separate enzymes from their cognate endonuclease partners. In some cases, there is a single polypeptide that possesses both a modification methyltransferase function and an endonuclease function, for example, Eco57I. In such cases, there is a second methyltransferase present as part of the restriction-modification system. In contrast, the MmeI system of the present application has no second methyltransferase accompanying the endonuclease-methyltransferase polypeptide.
Endonucleases are named according to the bacteria from which they are derived. Thus, the species Haemophilus aegyptius, for example synthesizes 3 different restriction endonucleases, named HaeI, HaeII and HaeIII. These enzymes recognize and cleave the sequences 5'-(W)GGCC(W)-3', 5'-(Pu)GCGC(Py)-3' and 5'-GGCC-3' respectively. Escherichia coli RY13, on the other hand, synthesizes only one enzyme, EcoRI, which recognizes the sequence 5'-GAATTC-3' .
While not wishing to be bound by theory, it is thought that in nature, restriction endonucleases play a protective role in the welfare of the bacterial cell. They enable bacteria to resist infection by foreign DNA molecules such as viruses and plasmids that would otherwise destroy or parasitize them. They impart resistance by binding to infecting DNA molecules and cleaving them in each place that the recognition sequence occurs. The disintegration that results inactivates many of the infecting genes and renders the DNA susceptible to further degradation by exonucleases.
More than 3000 restriction endonucleases have been isolated from various bacterial strains. Of these, more than 240 recognize unique sequences, while the rest share common recognition specificities. Restriction endonucleases which recognize the same nucleotide sequence are termed "isoschizomers." Although the recognition sequences of isoschizomers are the same, they may vary with respect to site of cleavage (e.g., XmaI v. SmaI, Endow, et al. , J. Mol. Biol. 112:521 (1977); Waalwijk, et al., Nucleic Acids Res. 5:3231 (1978)) and in cleavage rate at various sites (Xhol v. PaeR7I, Gingeras, et al. , Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci . U.S.A. 80:402 (1983) ) .
Restriction endonucleases have traditionally been classified into three major classes; type I, type II and type III. The type I restriction systems assemble a multi-peptide complex consisting of restriction polypeptide, modification polypeptide, and specificity, or DNA recognition, polypeptide. Type I systems require a divalent cation, ATP and S-adenylosyl-methionine (SAM) as cofactors. Type I systems cleave DNA at random locations up to several thousand basepairs away from their specific recognition site. The type III systems generally recognize an asymmetric DNA sequence and cleave at a specific position 20 to 30 basepairs to one side of the recognition sequence. Such systems require the cofactor ATP in addition to SAM and a divalent cation. The type III systems assemble a complex of endonuclease polypeptide and modification polypeptide that either modifies the DNA at the recognition sequence or cleaves. Type III systems produce partial digestion of the DNA substrate due to this competition between their modification and cleavage activities, and so have not been useful for genetic manipulation.
Mmel does not require ATP for DNA cleavage activity and it cleaves to completion; thus it can be classified as a type II endonuclease. Unlike other type II enzymes, however, Mmel consists of a single polypeptide that combines both endonuclease and modification activities and is sufficient by itself to form the entire restriction modification system. Mmel also cleaves the farthest distance from the specific DNA recognition sequence of any type II endonuclease (as does CstMI of this application). MmeI is quite large and appears to have three functional domains combined in one polypeptide. These consist of an amino-terminal domain which contains the endonuclease DNA cleavage motif and
which may also be involved in DNA recognition, a DNA modification domain most similar to the gamma-class N6mA methyltransferases, and a carboxy-terminal domain presumed to be involved in dimer formation and possibly DNA recognition. The enzyme requires SAM for both cleavage and modification activity. The single MmeI polypeptide is sufficient to modify the plasmid vector carrying the gene in vivo to provide protection against MmeI cleavage in vitro, yet it is also able to cleave unmodified DNAs in vitro when using the endonuclease buffer containing Mg++ and SAM.
There is a continuing need for novel type II restriction endonucleases. Although type II restriction endonucleases which recognize a number of specific nucleotide sequences are currently available, new restriction endonucleases which recognize novel sequences provide greater opportunities and ability for genetic manipulation. Each new unique endonuclease enables scientists to precisely cleave DNA at new positions within the DNA molecule, with all the opportunities this offers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a novel DNA fragment encoding a novel restriction endonuclease, obtainable from Methylophilus methylotrophus (NEB#1190). The endonuclease is hereinafter referred to as "MmeI", which endonuclease:
(1) recognizes the degenerate nucleotide sequence 5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3' in a double-stranded DNA molecule as shown below:
5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3" 3'-AGG(Py)TG-5'
(wherein G represents guanine, C represents cytosine, A represents adenine, T represents thymine, (Pu) represents a purine, either A or G, and (Py) represents a pyrimidine, either C or T) ;
(2) cleaves DNA in the phosphodiester bond
following the 20th nucleotide 3' to the
recognition sequence 5'-TCC(Pu)AC-3 and
preceding the 18th nucleotide 5' to the
complement strand of the recognition sequence
5'-GT(Py)GGA-3' to produce a 2 base 3'
extension:
5'-TCC(Pu)AC(N20)/-3' 3'-AGG(Py)GT(N18)/-5'; and
(3) methylates the recognition sequence specified
in (1) in vivo to protect the host DNA from
cleavage by the Mmel endonuclease activity;
The invention further relates to additional DNA fragments, each of which is identified to encode polypeptides which share significant sequence similarity to the Mmel restriction-modification polypeptide. The DNA fragment encoding the Mmel polypeptide enables the identification of these additional potential endonucleases by using similarity searching of the MmeI sequence against sequences available in databases, such as GENBANK, using a program such as BLAST (Altschul, et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402 (1997)). These DNA fragments, as well as any other fragments with such
similarity to MmeI that may be deposited in the databases in the future, are candidates which may encode polypeptides that are similar to MmeI, in that the polypeptides encoded act as both restriction endonuclease and methyltransferase. These polypeptides may, like MmeI, cleave DNA at a similarly far distance from the recognition sequence, in the range of 18 to 20 nucleotides or more, which character is unique and useful in certain molecular biology technologies. Specifically these polypeptides contain amino acid motifs common to N6mA DNA methyltransferases in the middle of the polypeptide, have a motif common to restriction endonucleases and located in the amino-terminal section of the polypeptides, consisting of the amino acids D/E(X8-X12)D/EXK, and have a region of several hundred amino acids following the conserved methyltransferase motifs which are significantly similar to this region of MmeI and are believed to serve as a dimerization and possibly a DNA sequence recognition domain. An example of such a polypeptide, CstMI, is presented. CstMI has been shown to recognize the 6 base pair asymmetric sequence 5'-AAGGAG-3' and to cleave the DNA in the same manner as Mmel; 5'-AAGGAGN20/N18-3'. The endonuclease encoded by these DNA fragments may be produced by the process used for Mmel, as described below.
The present invention further relates to a process for the production of the restriction endonuclease Mmel. This process comprises culturing a transformed host, such as E. coli, containing the DNA fragment encoding the MmeI restriction system polypeptide, collecting the cultured cells, obtaining a cell-free extract therefrom and separating and collecting the restriction endonuclease MmeI from the cell-free extract. The
present invention further relates to a process for the production of the restriction endonucleases encoded by the DNA sequences identified as homologous to MmeI. This process comprises culturing a transformed host, such as E. coli, containing the gene for these restriction systems, collecting the cultured cells, obtaining a cell-free extract therefrom and separating and collecting the restriction endonuclease from the cell-free extract.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Figure 1 - Agarose gel showing MmeI cleavage of lambda, T7, phiX174, pBR322 and pUC19 DNAs.
Figure 2 - DNA sequence of the MmeI gene locus (SEQ ID NO:1).
Figure 3 - Amino acid sequence of the MmeI gene locus (SEQ ID NO:2).
Figure 4 - Agarose gel showing MmeI cleavage,of pTBMmeI.l DNA and unmodified DNA substrates.
Figure 5 - Agarose gel showing MmeI cleavage of unmethylated, hemi-methylated and fully methylated DNA substrates.
Figure 6 - Incorporation of labeled methyl groups into unmethylated, hemi-methylated and fully methylated DNA substrates.
Figure 7 - Multiple sequence alignment of MmeI amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:3 through SEQ ID NO:14) and homologous polypeptides from public databases.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The recognition sequence and cleavage site of the endonuclease of the present invention were previously described (Boyd, Nucleic Acids Res. 14: 5255-5274 (1986)). However the MmeI enzyme proved difficult to produce from the native host, Methylophilus methylotrophus, due to very low yield of the enzyme and the relative difficulty of growing the M. methylotrophus host in large quantity. To overcome these limitations to producing MmeI, the present application describes the identification of the DNA sequence encoding the MmeI gene and the expression of this MmeI gene in a suitable host, in the present instance E. coli. This manipulation of the MmeI encoding DNA fragment results in both a significant increase in the amount of enzyme produced per gram of cells and a significant increase in ease of growth of large amounts of cells containing MmeI enzyme.
Several standard approaches typically employed by persons skilled in the art of cloning were applied to the task of cloning of MmeI without success. Specifically, the methylase selection approach (Wilson, et al., U.S. Patent No. 5,200,333) was attempted unsuccessfully. Several random libraries of M. methylotrophus DNA were constructed in E. coli and challenged by digesting with MmeI, but no MmeI methylase containing clones were obtained.
A second approach was also attempted but failed. In this approach, antibodies specific for N6mA were used to screen a library of random clones constructed in a lambda phage replacement vector. The approach was successful in obtaining methylase positive clones, but
all examined were found to express the methyltransferase of the second restriction system in M. methylotrophus, the MmeII methylase (recognition sequence 5'-GATC-3') rather than the desired Mmel methylase activity.
The successful approach to obtain the desired DNA fragment encoding the MmeI restriction system involved several steps. First a novel purification procedure was developed to purify the MmeI endonuclease peptide to homogeneity from M. methylotrophus. Once this ultra pure MmeI endonuclease polypeptide was successfully obtained in a significant amount, amino acid sequence from the amino terminus and from internal cyanogen-bromide degradation peptides was determined. Using the amino acid sequence obtained, degenerate DNA primers complementary to the DNA coding for the amino acid sequences were synthesized and used to PCR amplify a portion of the MmeI gene. The DNA sequence of this portion of the MmeI gene was determined. The entire MmeI endonuclease gene and surrounding DNA sequences were then obtained by applying the inverse PCR technique. A number of primers matching the DNA sequence obtained were designed, synthesized and used in combination with numerous different templates. The inverse PCR templates were produced by digesting M. methylotrophus genomic DNA with various restriction endonucleases and then ligating the cut M. methylotrophus DNA at low concentration to obtain circular molecules. The various primers were tried in combinations with the various templates to find primer-template combinations that produced a specific PCR amplification product. The products thus obtained were sequenced. Once the DNA sequence encoding the entire MmeI endonuclease gene was obtained, primers were designed to specifically amplify the gene from M. methylotrophus genomic DNA. The amplified gene was
inserted into an expression vector and cloned into an E. coli host. The host was tested and found to both express MmeI endonuclease activity and to in vivo modify the recombinant expression vector such that it was protected against MmeI endonuclease activity in vitro.
This finding that the single polypeptide encoding the MmeI endonuclease also provided in vivo protection against MmeI is in contrast to the previously published information on MmeI (Tucholski, Gene 223:293-302 (1998)). Specifically, this reference taught that the MmeI endonuclease polypeptide did not provide protection against MmeI endonuclease cleavage. This reference reported a separate methyltransferase of 48kD as required to modify the MmeI site on both strands and thus block cleavage by the MmeI endonuclease. Specifically, the reference teaches that the MmeI endonuclease polypeptide modifies the adenine in the top strand of the recognition sequence only, 5'-TCCRAC-3' and that such modified DNA is cut by the MmeI endonuclease. The DNA fragment of the present invention encodes the MmeI endonuclease gene, which when grown alone in an E. coli host renders the vector containing the MmeI endonuclease resistant to cleavage by the purified MmeI endonuclease. Further, the MmeI endonuclease produced from this fragment does not cleave a DNA fragment modified at the adenine of the top strand, 5'-TCCRAC-3' when no modification of the opposite, or bottom strand is present. This is in contrast to the teaching of the Tucholski reference. Also, the MmeI endonuclease of this application does cleave a DNA fragment in which the adenine residue in the bottom strand is modified 5'-GTYGGA-3' in contrast to the teaching of the Tucholski reference. When both the top strand and the bottom strand are modified at the
adenine residues, the MmeI endonuclease does not cleave the DNA. No second methyltransferase gene, such as reported in the Tucholski reference, was found adjacent to the MmeI endonuclease gene. There is an open reading frame immediately 3' to the MmeI endonuclease gene which would encode a protein of approximately the reported size of such a second methyltransferase activity (48kD). However, this potential polypeptide does not have the amino acid motifs found in methyltransferases, nor did it provide protection against MmeI endonuclease when cloned in E. coli. While the Tulchoski reference taught the necessity of a second methyltransferase polypeptide to provide protection against MmeI endonuclease activity for the host cell, it is demonstrated in the present application that the DNA fragment encoding the MmeI endonuclease polypeptide is sufficient to provide such protection. Additionally, the eleven DNA fragments described herein which encode amino acid sequences similar to MmeI are not flanked by any recognizable DNA methyltransferase genes. This indicates that these polypeptides are also likely to provide both protection for the host DNA and endonuclease activity against unmodified DNA substrates on their own, without having a second methyltransferase as part of the restriction modification system. This contrasts with other type II restriction modification systems.
The same group (Tucholski, Gene 223: 293-302 (1998), and Anna Podhajska, personal communication) had previously reported an amino acid sequence of eight residues for a single internal CnBr digestion fragment
(sequence GRGRGVGV (SEQ ID NO: ). PCR based on this
sequence was attempted yet failed repeatedly. This sequence was found to be unrelated to MmeI once the actual MmeI amino acid sequence was determined in
accordance with the present invention. Therefore correct internal amino acid sequences determination, which enabled the cloning of the MmeI gene, depended on the novel purification method described in this application for the production of sufficiently pure MmeI in large enough quantity to determine cyanogen bromide internal fragment amino acid sequences, as performed in this Application.
In Example II we obtained MmeI by culturing a transformed host carrying the MmeI gene, such as E. coli ER2683 carrying pTBMmeI.l and recovering the endonuclease from the cells. A sample of E. coli ER2683 carrying pTBMmeI.l (NEB#1457) has been deposited under the terms and conditions of the Budapest Treaty with the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) on July 3, 2002 and bears the Patent Accession No. PTA-4521.
For recovering the enzyme of the present invention E. coli carrying pTBMmeI.l (NEB#1457) may be grown using any suitable technique. For example, E. coli carrying pTBMmeI.1 may be grown in Luria broth media containing 100µg/ml ampicillin and incubated aerobically at 37°C with aeration. Cells in the late logarithmic stage of growth are induced by adding 0.3mM IPTG, grown for an additional 4 hours, collected by centrifugation and either disrupted immediately or stored frozen at -70°C.
The MmeI enzyme can be isolated from E. coli carrying pTBMmeI.l cells by conventional protein purification techniques. For example, cell paste is suspended in a buffer solution and treated by sonication, high pressure dispersion or enzymatic digestion to allow extraction of the endonuclease by the buffer solution. Intact cells and cellular debris are
then removed by centrifugation to produce a cell-free extract containing MmeI. The MmeI endonuclease, along with its corresponding intrinsic methylase activity, is then purified from the cell-free extract by ion-exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography, molecular sieve chromatography, or a combination of these methods to produce the endonuclease of the present invention.
The present invention also relates to methods for identifying additional DNA fragments, each of which encodes a polypeptide having significant amino acid sequence similarity to the MmeI polypeptide. The polypeptides encoded by these DNA fragments are predicted to perform similar functions to MmeI. Specifically, they are predicted to possess the dual enzymatic functions of cleaving DNA in a specific manner at a relatively far distance from the specific recognition sequence and also modifying their recognition sequences to protect the host DNA from cleavage by their endonuclease activity. Once the amino acid sequence of the MmeI endonuclease was determined as described in this application, sequences deposited in databases can be compared to this MmeI sequence to find those few sequences that are highly significantly similar to MmeI. This method is similar to that of U.S. Patent No.6,383,770 (Roberts, et al.), except that here we are searching for similarity to the MmeI endonuclease sequence, rather than searching for sequences that match a database of methyltransferase or endonuclease proteins and then examining any unidentified open reading frames next to potential methyltransferase open reading frames. Prior to identifying the MmeI amino acid sequence, the DNA sequences coding for proteins related to MmeI had not been included in the database of restriction and methyltransferase gene sequences utilized by Roberts, et al. , supra since these sequences had not been linked to
any known endonuclease function. The method disclosed herein of identifying potential MmeI-like endonucleases . is thus more specific than the method of U.S. Patent No. 6,383,770 (Roberts, et al.).
Similarity searching of the MmeI sequence against sequences available in databases, such as GENBANK, is accomplished using a program such as BLAST (Altschul, et al.' Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402 (1997)). A sequence with an expectation value (E) score of less than E= e-10 is considered a potential candidate endonuclease. Sequences that give expectation values that are much lower, such as less than E=e-30 is to be considered as highly likely to be endonucleases like MmeI. Such candidate MmeI-like peptides are further examined to see if they conform to the domain architecture that MmeI exhibits. A true candidate will contain an endonuclease fold motif, usually of the form (D/E)X8-X12(D/E)XK in the amino-terminal portion of the peptide, (Aravind et al. Nucleic Acid Res. 28:3417-3432 (2000)). A true candidate will contain methyltransferase motifs in the middle portion of the peptide similar to gamma class N6-methyl adenine methyltransferases, and sequences similar to the carboxyl portion of MmeI in the carboxyl portion of the candidate peptide. Such a BLAST search performed on June 12, 2003 returned the following sequences as highly significantly similar to MmeI:
(Table Removed)
Most of these proteins are labeled as hypothetical or putative in their database entries. A number of these appear to be full-length polypeptides, such as sequence #2 above: GcrY. Such candidates can be expressed as described in Roberts to identify the expected endonuclease activity. Some endonuclease genes may be inactive in the particular strain used for sequencing (Lin, et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98:2740-2745 (2001)). In such a circumstance it may prove possible to express functional endonucleases by repairing the mutations that have inactivated these genes. Several of the MmeI homologs, such as #7 (SEQ ID NO:14)(Deinococcus radiodurans DR22 67) and #8 (SEQ ID NO:13)(Deinococcus radiodurans DR0119.1) have disruptions in the open reading frames. DR2267 has a stop codon, TAG, which prematurely terminates the open reading frame, in a position where MmeI has a glutamate amino acid coded for by the codon GAG. By changing this TAG stop codon to GAG it may be possible to reactivate this potential endonuclease gene. DR0119.1 is also disrupted, in that it has a frameshift that disrupts open reading frame. The MmeI sequence may be used as a guide to direct where to repair this frameshift by maximizing the similarity of the DR0119.1 sequence to the MmeI sequence. This may well restore DR0119.1 endonuclease activity.
An alternative way to generate potential new endonucleases is to take advantage of their similar domain structure by performing domain swapping. One may be able to swap the amino terminal domain of an MmeI-like peptide, for the amino terminal domain in the MmeI protein, for example by swapping the sequence of the potential new gene up to the first methyltransferase motif (motif X, "Gly Ala His Tyr Thr Ser" into MmeI to replace this portion of MmeI up to the same sequence.
This approach may be particularly useful when only a partial sequence is available or a potential gene has lost function due to multiple mutations. This approach will create a chimeric protein that potentially has endonuclease activity and cleaves at a distance away from the recognition sequence, like MmeI, but that recognizes a novel DNA sequence. One may also find sequences in the databases that are highly similar to MmeI but that are partial. For example, sequence #11 (SEQ ID NO:9) above (Pseudomonas fluorescens) is from a small fragment of DNA sequence in the database. To obtain a functional endonuclease like MmeI from this sequence one can use inverse PCR or other techniques to obtain DNA sequence adjacent to the fragment reported, then use that sequence to obtain an intact endonuclease gene.
Once a sequence is identified the potential endonuclease can be expressed and characterized as described in Roberts, et al. supra. Here, however, there is no separate methyltransferase gene to express along with the endonuclease. Once such a potential endonuclease is cloned and expressed in a suitable host, such as in E. coli, a cell free extract is prepared and analyzed to detect any endonuclease activity. Such an endonuclease assay must include the SAM cofactor required by these endonucleases. Once specific DNA cleavage activity is found the recognition sequence and cleavage site may be determined by standard methods. (Schildkraut, (1984) In Genet. Eng. (N Y) Vol 6. (Setlow J.K., Hollaender, A. Ed.), pp 117-140. Plenum Press, New York. "Screening for and characterizing restriction endonucleases.")
The enzymes so identified can be isolated from E. coli cells carrying the DNA fragment in a suitable vector by conventional protein purification techniques. For example, cell paste is suspended in a buffer solution and treated by sonication, high pressure dispersion or enzymatic digestion to allow extraction of the endonuclease by the buffer solution. Intact cells and cellular debris are then removed by centrifugation to produce a cell-free extract containing the enzyme. The endonuclease, along with its corresponding intrinsic methylase activity, is then purified from the cell-free extract by ion-exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography, molecular sieve chromatography, or a combination of these methods to produce the endonuclease of the present invention.
These DNA fragments, as well as any other fragments with such similarity to MmeI that may be deposited in the databases in the future, are predicted to encode polypeptides that are similar to MmeI, in that the polypeptides encoded act as both restriction endonuclease and methyltransferase. These polypeptides may, like MmeI, cleave DNA at a similarly far distance from the recognition sequence, in the range of about 18 to 2 0 nucleotides or more, which character is unique and useful in certain molecular biology technologies.
An example of such an enzyme identified by this process is CstMI (see U.S. Application Serial
No. , filed concurrently herewith) . CstMI was
identified as a potential endonuclease because of its highly significant amino acid sequence similarity to MmeI. CstMI is encoded by sequence #2 above (SEQ ID NO:8), which gave highly significant Expectation value of e-171 when compared to MmeI by BLAST. CstMI recognizes
the 6 base pair asymmetric sequence 5'-AAGGAG-3' and cleaves the DNA in the same manner as MmeI: it cleaves the phosphodiester bond between the 20th and 21st residues 3' to this recognition sequence on this DNA strand, and between the 18th and 19th residues 5' to the recognition sequence on the complement strand 5'-CTCCTT-3' to produce a 2 base 3' extension.
The present invention is further illustrated by the following Examples. These Examples are provided to aid in the understanding of the invention and are not construed as a limitation thereof.
The references cited above and below are herein incorporated by reference.
EXAMPLE I
PURIFICATION OF MmeI ENDONUCLEASE
A single colony of Methylophilus methylotrophus (NEB#1190) was grown for 24 hrs in 1 liter of medium M (0.08 MM CuSO4, 0.448 MM MnSO4, 0.348 MM ZnSO4, 6.0 MM FeCl3, 18 MM CaCO3 , 1.6 mM MgSO4, 9 .0 mM NaH2PO4, 10.9 mM K2HPO4, 13.6 mM (NH4)2SO4) for 24 hours. This culture was used to inoculate 100 liters of medium M. The cells were grown aerobically at 37°C, overnight, until stationary. Five 100-liter fermentations were required to harvest 752 grams of wet cell pellet.
750 gram of M. methylotrophus cell pellet was suspended in 2.25 liters of Buffer A (20 mM Tris-HCl (pH 8.0), 50 mM NaCl, 1.0 mM DTT, 0.1 mM EDTA, 5% Gycerol) and passed through a Gaulin homogenizer at -12,000 psig.
The lysate was centrifuged at -13,000 x G for 40 minutes and the supernatant collected.
The supernatant solution was applied to a 500 ml Heparin Hyper-D column (BioSepra SA) which had been equilibrated in buffer A. A 1.0 L wash of buffer A was applied, then a 2 L gradient of NaCl from 0.05 M to 1 M in buffer A was applied and fractions were collected. Fractions were assayed for Mme I endonuclease activity by incubating with 1 µg Lambda DNA (NEB) in 50 µl NEBuffer 1, supplemented with 32 µM S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) for 15 minutes at 37° C. MmeI activity eluted at 0.3 M to 0.4 M NaCl.
The Heparin Hyper-D column fractions containing the Mme I activity were pooled, diluted to 50 mM NaCl with buffer A (without NaCl) and applied to a 105 ml Sourcel5 Q column (Amersham Biotech) which had been equilibrated with buffer A. A 210 ml wash with buffer A was applied followed by a 1.0 L gradient of NaCl from 0.05 M to 0.7 M in buffer A. Fractions were collected and assayed from Mme I endonuclease activity. The Mme I activity was found in the unbound fraction.
The Sourcel5 Q pool was loaded onto a 22 ml AF-Heparin-TSK column (TosoHaas) which had been equilibrated with buffer A. A wash of 44 ml buffer A was applied, followed by a linear gradient of NaCl from 0.05 M to 1.0 M in buffer A. Fractions were collected and assayed from Mme I endonuclease activity. The Mme I activity eluted between 0.26 M and 0.29 M NaCl. The fractions containing activity were pooled and dialyzed against buffer B (20 mM NaPO4 (pH 7.0), 50 mM NaCl, 1.0 mM DTT, 0.1 mM EDTA, 5% Glycerol).
The dialyzed AF-Heparin-TSK pool was loaded onto a 6 ml Resourcel5 S column (Amersham Biotech) which had been equilibrated with buffer B. A wash of 12 ml buffer B was applied, followed by a linear gradient of NaCl from 0.05 M to 1.0 M in buffer B. Fractions were collected and assayed for Mme I endonuclease activity. Mme I activity eluted between 0.14 M and 0.17 M NaCl.
This pool was applied to a 2 liter Superdex 75 sizing column (Amersham Biotech) which had been equilibrated with buffer C (20 mM Tris-HCl, pH 8.0, 500 mM NaCl, 1.0 mM DTT, 0.1 mM EDTA, 5% Glycerol). Fractions were collected between 500 and 1500 ml elution with buffer C, then assayed by Mme endonuclease assay and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on 4-20% gradient gel, followed by protein staining with Coomassie Brilliant Blue dye. Fractions eluting between 775 and 825 ml corresponded to Mme I activity and a protein band of 105 kDa. These fractions were pooled and dialyzed against buffer D (20 mM NaPO4 (pH 7.0), 50 mM NaCl, 1 mM DTT, 5% Glycerol).
The dialyzed sizing pool was applied to a 16 ml Ceramic HTP column (BioRad) which had been equilibrated with buffer D. A 32 ml wash with buffer D was followed by a linear gradient from 0.02 M to 1.0 M NaPO4 in buffer D. Fractions were collected and assayed by Mme endonuclease assay and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on a 4-20% gradient gel, followed by protein staining with Coomassie Brilliant Blue dye. Mme I eluted between 0.26 M and 0.3 M NaPO4. A portion of several fractions containing a single homogeneous protein band of 105 kDa were used for protein sequencing. The rest of the purified MmeI fractions were pooled (6 ml @ .36 mg/ml) and dialyzed against storage
buffer (10 mM Tris (pH 7.9), 50 mM KCl, 1mM DTT, .1 mM EDTA, 50% glycerol) . The purified MmeI enzyme was stored at -20°C.
Activity determination:
Samples from 1-4 µl were added to 50 µl substrate solution consisting of 1X NEBuffer 1, 32 µM S-adenosyl-L-methionine, and 1 µg DNA (lambda, PhiX174 or pUC19 DNAs). Reactions were incubated for 15 minutes at 37°, received 20 )µl stop solution and were analyzed by electrophoresis on a 1% agarose gel.
Optimized endonuclease activity
Following purification of MmeI from M. methylotrophus, experiments were performed to determine the optimal reaction conditions for DNA cleavage. Endonuclease activity was found to be significantly enhanced by the presence of potassium in the reaction buffer. Reactions were performed at 4°C to 37°C and from 5 to 60 minutes with no appreciable change in the amount of DNA cleavage. Enzyme concentrations at or near stoichiometric equivalence to DNA sites were required for maximal cleavage. Large excess of enzyme blocked cleavage. These findings were used to reassess the activity of MmeI and to define a workable endonuclease unit.
Unit definition
One unit of MmeI is defined as the amount of MmeI required to completely cleave 1 µg of PhiXl74 DNA in 15 minutes at 37°C in NEBuffer 4 (20 mM Tris-acetate, 10 mM magnesium acetate, 50 mM potassium acetate, 1 mM
dithiothreitol (pH7.9 at 25°C)) supplemented with 80µM S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM).
EXAMPLE II
CLONING THE Mnel ENDONUCLEASE
1. DNA purification: Total genomic DNA of
Methylophilus methylotrophus was prepared. 5 grams of
cell paste was suspended in 20 ml of 25% sucrose, 0.05 M
Tris-HCl pH 8.0, to which was added 10 ml of 0.25 M
EDTA, pH 8.0. Then 6 ml of lysozyme solution (10 mg/ml
lysozyme in 0.25 M Tris-HCl, pH 8.0) was added and the
cell suspension was incubated at 4°C for 16 hours. 25
ml of Lytic mix (1% Triton-X100, 0.05 M Tris, 62 mM
EDTA, pH 8.0) and 5 ml of 10% SDS was then added and the
solution incubated at 37°C for 5 minutes. The solution
was extracted with one volume of equilibrated
phenol:chloroform:isoamyl alcohol (50:48:2, v/v/v) and the aqueous phase was recovered and extracted with one volume of chloroform:isoamyl alcohol (24:1, v/v) two times. The aqueous solution was then dialysed against four changes of 2 L of 10 mM Tris, 1 mM EDTA, pH 8.0. The dialysed DNA solution was digested with RNase (100 µg/ml) at 37°C for 1 hour. The DNA was precipitated by the addition of l/10th volume 5 M NaCl and 0.55 volumes of 2-propanol and spooled on a glass rod. The DNA was briefly rinsed in 70% ethanol, briefly air dried and dissolved in 20 ml TE (10 mM Tris, 1 mM EDTA, pH 8.0) to a concentration of approximately 500 µg/ml and stored at 4°C.
2. The MmeI endonuclease was purified to
homogeneity as described in Example I above.
3. Amino acid sequences of the MmeI endonuclease were obtained for the amino terminus and for several internal cyanogen.bromide digestion products of the MmeI polypeptide. The MmeI restriction endonuclease, prepared as described in Example I above, was subjected to electrophoresis and electroblotted according to the procedure of Matsudaira (Matsudaira. J. Biol. Chem. 262:10035-10038, 1987)), with modifications as previously described (Looney, et al. Gene 80:193-208
(1989)) . The membrane was stained with Coomassie blue R-250 and the protein band of approximately 105 kD was excised and subjected to sequential degradation on an ABI Procise 494 Protein/Peptide Sequencer with gas-phase delivery (Waite-Rees, et al. J. Bacteriol. 173:5207-5219
(1991)). The amino acid sequence of the first 14 amino terminal residues obtained was the following: ALSWNEIRRKAIEF (SEQ ID NO:15).
An additional sample of the MmeI endonuclease, 20 µg in 20 µl, was treated with 2 µg of cyanogen bromide
(Sigma) dissolved in 200 µ1 of 88% distilled formic acid for 24 hours in the dark at room temperature. This reaction mixture was evaporated to dryness and resuspended in 20 µl of loading buffer (1.5M Tris-HCl, pH 8.5, 12% glycerol, 4% SDS, 0.05% Serva Blue G, 0.05% Phenol Red) at 100°C for 5 minutes. This sample was subjected to electrophoresis on a Tris-Tricine 10 to 20% polyacrylamide gradient gel (Invitrogen) for three hours and then transferred to a polyvinylidene difluoride
(PVDF) membrane (Problott, Applied Biosystems Inc.) using 10 mM CAPS buffer (10mM 3-[cyclohexylamino]-1-propanesulfonic acid, 10% methanol, 0.05% SDS, 0.005% dithiotheritiol, adjusted to pH 11.0 with NaOH) for 18 hours at 200 volts in a tank electroblotter (TE52, Hoeffer). The membrane was stained with Coomassie blue
R-250 and major bands of 25 kilodaltons (kD), 14 kD, 7.5 kD and 6 kD were observed, as well as smaller bands. These stained protein bands were excised from the membrane and each subjected to sequential degradation. The fragments other than the amino terminal fragment are derived from internal cleavage by cyanogen bromide at methionine residues from within the protein and thus should be preceded by a methionine. The first 29 residues of the 25 kD peptide corresponded to (M)KISDEFGNYFARIPLKSTXXIXEXNALQ (SEQ ID NO:16). Residues 20, 21, 23 and 25, labeled X, were not identified. The first 40 amino acid residues obtained from the 14kD fragment were: (M)DAKKRRNLGAHYTSEANILKLI KPLLLDELWWFXKVKN (SEQ ID NO: 17) . Residue 36 was not determined.- The first 25 residues of the 7.5 kD peptide corresponded to (M)KSRGKDLDKAYDQALDYFSGIAER (SEQ ID NO:18). The 6kD fragment was found to contain a mixture of three sequences.
4. Amplification of a portion of the MmeI endonuclease: The peptide sequence data from the amino terminus, 25 kD, 14kD and 7.5kD peptides was used to construct a series of degenerate PCR primers corresponding to the codons for the amino acid residues. The order of the internal peptide fragments was unknown, so both forward (sense strand) and reverse (antisense strand) primers were made for these fragments. The primers were:
25 kD fragment: residues DEFGNYFA (SEQ ID NO:19) Forward:
1) 5'-GARTTYGGNAAYTAYTTYGC-3' (SEQ ID NO:20)
Reverse:
2) 5'-AARTARTTNCCRAAYTCRTC-3' (SEQ ID NO:21)
14 kD fragment: residues MDAKKR (SEQ ID NO:22) Forward A:
3) 5'-ATGGAYGCNAARAARCG-3' (SEQ ID NO:23) Forward B:
4) 5'-ATGGAYGCNAARAARAG-3' (SEQ ID NO:24) Reverse:
5) 5'-CGNCGYTTYTTNGCRTCCAT-3' (SEQ ID NO:25)
7.5 kD fragment: residues DKAYDQA (SEQ ID NO:26) Forward:
6) 5'-GAYAARGCNTAYGAYCARGC-3' (SEQ ID NO:27) Reverse:
7) 5'-GCYTGRTCRTANGCYTTRTC-3' (SEQ ID NO:28)
where Y = T,C R = A,G H = A,T,C S = G,C N = A,C,G,T
Primers 1 and 2 are derived from the MmeI 25 kD CNBr peptide and were prepared to prime on the sense strand (1) or the antisense strand (2) of the gene. Primers 3 through 5 are derived from the 14 kD CNBr peptide and were prepared to prime on the sense strand (3 and 4) or the antisense strand (5) of the gene, with 3 and 4 differing in the codon usage for the arginine residue. Primers 6 and 7 are derived from the 7.5 kD CNBr peptide and were prepared to prime on the sense strand (6) or the antisense strand (7) of the gene.
PCR amplification reactions were performed using the primer combinations of 1 with 5, 1 with 7, 3 with 2,
3 with 7, 4 with 2, 4 with 7, 6 with 2 and 6 with 7. A
portion of the MmeI gene was amplified in a PCR reaction
by combining:
80 µl 10X Thermopol buffer (NEB) 50 µl 4mM dNTP solution (NEB)
4 µl MmeI genomic DNA (500µg/ml stock)
16 µl 100mM MgSO4
586 µl dH2O
16 µl (32 units) Vent® exo- DNA polymerase (NEB).
This master mix was divided into 8 aliquots of 90 µl, to which was added 5 µl forward primer (10 µM stock) and 5 µl reverse primer (10 µM stock). The cycling parameters were 95°C for 3 minutes for one cycle, then 95°C for 30 seconds, 46°C for 30 seconds, 72°C for 2 minutes, for 25 cycles.
The amplification reactions were electrophoresed on a 1% agarose gel and analyzed. Major DNA amplification products of 450 base pairs (bp) (primers 2 with 4), 650 bp (primers 5 with 6) and 1100 bp (primers 2 with 6) were obtained. These fragment sizes are consistent with the 7.5 kD CnBr fragment being located nearest the amino end of the protein and approximately 650 bp away from the 14kD CnBr fragment, with the 14 kD fragment between the 7.5 kD and the 25 kD fragment and adjacent to the 25 kD fragment. The amplified DNA fragments were gel purified and sequenced using the primers that were used for the amplification. A translation of the DNA sequence obtained matched the amino acid sequence derived from the purified MmeI endonuclease, indicating that a portion of the MmeI endonuclease gene DNA sequence had been successfully obtained.
5. Determining the DNA sequence for the entire MmeI gene and adjacent DNA: The inverse PCR technique was used to extend the DNA sequence from both sides of the 1060 bp of the MmeI gene obtained above. To accomplish this a series of primers matching the MmeI gene DNA sequence and oriented for inverse PCR were designed and synthesized. MmeI genomic DNA was cut with a number of restriction endonucleases and ligated at low concentration to generate circular DNA templates.
A. MmeI genomic DNA was digested with ten different restriction endonucleases and then circularly ligated to obtain DNA templates to amplify using the inverse PCR technique. The restriction enzymes used were:
BspHI (T/CATGA) EcoRI (G/AATTC) HindIII (A/AGCTT) HinPlI (G/CGC) MspI (C/CGG) NlaIII (CATG/) PstI (CTGCA/G) SacI (GAGCT/C) SphI (GCATG/C) XbaI (T/CTAGA)
Restriction enzyme digests were performed by combining:
5 µl 10X NEBuffer recommended for the enzyme (varied
with enzyme)
2 µl M. methyl optrophus genomic DNA (1 µg)
43 µl dH2O
1 µl (10-20 units) restriction enzyme.
The reactions were incubated for 1 hour at 37°C. The restriction endonuclease was inactivated by heating

the reaction to 65°C (80°C for PstI) for 20 minutes. The digested DNA was then ligated into circular fragments by adding 50 µl 10X T4 DNA ligase buffer, 400 µl dH2O and 3 µl concentrated T4 DNA ligase (6000 units, New England Biolabs, Inc.) and incubating at 16°C for 16 hours. The ligated DNA was then extracted with phenol and chloroform, precipitated with 2-propanol and resuspended in 100 µl TE buffer.
B. Amplification of DNA adjacent to the 1060 bp fragment of the MmeI endonuclease gene: Two pairs of PCR primers were designed, one near each end of the 1060 bp sequence obtained from direct PCR with degenerate primers. The primer sequences were:
primer IP 1:
5'-GTTGGATCCCGCACAGATTGCTCAGG-3' (SEQ ID NO:29)
primer IP 2:
5'-GTTGGATCCTACGTTAATCTGAATAAGATG-3' (SEQ ID NO:3 0)
primer IP 3:
5'-GTTGGATCCTGTTAATCTGAAACGCTGG-3' (SEQ ID NO:31)
primer IP 4:
5'-GTTGGATCCTTATACCAAAATGTGAGGTC-3' (SEQ ID NO:32)
Inverse PCR reactions were performed on the 10 circularized templates produced above with the primer pairs of IP 1 with IP 2, IP 3 with IP 4, and IP 1 with IP 3. The amplification reactions were assembled by combining:
8 0 µl 10X Thermopol buffer (NEB) 5 0 µl 4mM dNTP solution (NEB) 40 µl IP primer (forward)
40 µl IP primer (reverse)
16 µl 100mM MgSO4
534 µl dH2O
16 M-l (32 units) Vent® exo- DNA polymerase (NEB) .
The master mix was aliquoted into ten tubes of 76 µl, to which was added 4 µl of the appropriate digested, circularly ligated template. The cycling parameters were 95°C for 3 minutes for one cycle, then 95°C for 30 seconds, 56°C for 30 seconds, 72°C for 3 minutes, for 25 cycles. Amplification products were analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis.
For primers IP 1 and IP 2 with the SphI template and the NlaIII template a product of approximately 825 bp was obtained. For primers IP 3 and IP 4 with the BspHI template a product of approximately 800 bp was obtained. For primers IP 1 and IP 3 with the EcoRI template a product of approximately 1500 bp was obtained. These amplified DNA fragments were gel purified, sequenced and assembled with that previously obtained. The assembled sequence did not contain the entire MmeI endonuclease open reading frame. The assembled sequence was used to direct synthesis of a second group of inverse PCR primer pairs. The sequences of these primers were:
primer IP 5:
5'-TTCAGAAATACGAGCGATGC-3'(SEQ ID NO:33)
primer IP 6:
5'-GTCAAGCCATAAACACCATC-3' (SEQ ID NO:34)
primer IP 7 :
5'-GAGGGTCAGAAAGGAAGCTG-3'(SEQ ID NO:35)
primer IP 8:
5'-GTCCAACTAACCCTTTATGG-3'(SEQ ID NO:36)
Inverse PCR amplification reactions were performed as above. Using primers IP 5 and IP 6, products were obtained from the Nlalll template (approximately 450 bp) and the Mspl template (approximately 725 bp), but not from the other circular ligation templates. Using primers IP 7 and IP 8, products were obtained from the EcoRI template (approximately 500 bp), the SphI template (approximately 825 bp) and the BspHI template (approximately 750 bp). These DNA fragments were sequenced and the sequence was assembled with that previously obtained. The assembled sequence did not yet contain the entire MmeI endonuclease open reading frame, so another round of primer synthesis and inverse PCR was performed. Additional DNA templates were generated as above, but using the restriction enzymes Apol (R/AATTY), AseI (AT/TAAT), BsaHI (GR/CGYC), MfeI (C/AATTG), SspI (AAT/ATT) and EcoRV (GAT/ATC) to digest M. methylotrophus genomic DNA. The sequences of this third round of primers were:
primer IP 9:
5'-TTCCTAGTGCTGAACCTTTG-3' (SEQ ID NO:37)
primer IP 10:
5'-GTTGCGTTACTTGAAATGAC-3' (SEQ ID NO:38)
primer IP 11:
5'-CCAAAATGGAACTTGTTTCG-3' (SEQ ID NO:39)
primer IP 12:
5'-GTGAGTGCGCCCTGAATTAG-3' (SEQ ID NO:40)
Inverse PCR amplification reactions were performed as above. Using primers IP 9 and IP 10, products were obtained from the NlaIII template (approximately 425 bp), the MfeI template (approximately 750 bp), the ApoI template (approximately 800 bp) and the MspI template (approximately 2100 bp). Using primers IP 11 and IP 12, products were obtained from the SphI template (approximately 875 bp), the BspHI template (approximately 925 bp) and the EcoRI template (approximately 950 bp). These DNA fragments were sequenced and the sequence was assembled with the sequences previously obtained. Further sequencing was performed on the IP 9, IP10 MspI 2100 bp product using three additional primers:
primer S1:
5'-GCTTCATTTCATCCTCTGTGC-3' (SEQ ID NO:41)
primer S2:
5'-TAACCGCCAAAATTAATCGTG-3' (SEQ ID NO:42)
primer S3:
5'-CCACTATTCATTACAACACC-3' (SEQ ID NO:43)
The final assembled sequence (Figure 2) contained the entire MmeI restriction gene, as well as 1640 bp of sequence preceding the gene and 1610 bp of sequence following the gene.
6. Cloning the MmeI endonuclease gene in E. coli: The putative MmeI endonuclease open reading frame was identified from the DNA sequence assembly obtained
from sequencing the various inverse PCR amplified DNA fragments. The beginning of the open reading frame was identified on the basis of the match of the predicted amino acid sequence at the amino terminus of the open reading frame with the sequence determined from the MmeI endonuclease protein. The predicted end of the open reading frame would allow for the coding of an approximately 105 kD polypeptide, which matched the observed size of the native MmeI endonuclease. The amino acid sequence deduced from translation of this open reading frame contained conserved sequence motifs of N6mA DNA methyltransferases. However, no open reading frame containing sequence motifs conserved among DNA methyltransferases was observed adjacent to the MmeI endonuclease gene, as had been expected. It was decided to try to express the MmeI endonuclease in E. cold. without having a second methyltransferase present to protect the E. coli host DNA from cleavage. Oligonucleotide primers were synthesized to specifically amplify the MmeI gene from M. methylotrophus genomic DNA for expression in the cloning vector pRRS (Skoglund, Gene 88:1-5 (1990)). The forward primer contained a PstI site for cloning, a stop codon in frame with the lacZ gene of the vector, a consensus E. coli ribosome binding site, the ATG start codon for translation (changed from the GTG used by M. methylotrophus to facilitate greater expression in E. coli) and 20 nucleotides that matched the M. methylotrophus DNA sequence:
5'-GTTCTGCAGTTAAGGATAACATATGGCTTTAAGCTGGAACGAG-3' (SEQ ID NO:44)
The reverse primer contained a BamHI site for cloning and 22 nucleotides that matched the M.
methyl otrophus DNA sequence 3 ' to the end of the MnaeI open reading frame:
5'-GTTGGATCCGTCGACATTAATTAATTTTTGCCCTTAG-3' (SEQ ID NO:45)
The MmeI gene was amplified in a PCR reaction by combining:
50 µl 10X Thermopol buffer (NEB)
30 µl 4mM dNTP solution
12.5 µl forward primer (l0µM stock)
12.5 µl reverse primer (l0µM stock)
5 µl MmeI genomic DNA (500µg/ml stock)
387 µl dH2O
3, µ1 (6 units) Vent® DNA polymerase
The reaction was mixed and aliquoted into 5 tubes of 80 µl each. MgSO4 was added (100mM stock) to bring the final concentration of Mg++ ions to 2mM, 3mM, 4mM, 5mM and 6mM respectively. The cycling parameters were 95°C for 30 seconds, 60°C for 30 seconds, 72°C for 3 minutes, for 24 cycles. The reactions were analyzed by gel electrophoresis and the 3mM through 6mM Mg++ reactions were found to contain a DNA band of the desired size of 2.8kb. These reactions were pooled and the 2.8kb band was gel purified. The 2.8kb amplified MmeI gene fragment was digested with BamHI and PstI endonucleases (NEB) in the following reaction conditions:
15 µl 10X BamHI reaction buffer (NEB)
1.5 µl BSA (NEB)
50 µl MmeI gene 2.8 kb amplified DNA fragment
80 µl dH2O
5 µl BamHI endonuclease (100 units) 5 µl PstI endonuclease (100 units)
The reaction was mixed and incubated for 1 hour at 37°C. The small fragments cleaved off the ends of the 2.8kb DNA fragment were removed, along with the endonucleases, by purification on a Qiagen QiaPrep spin column according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The cleaved MmeI gene DNA fragment was ligated to the pRRS vector as follows: 10 µl of the digested, purified 2 . 8kb MmeI fragment was combined with 5 µl pRRS vector previously cleaved with BamHI and PstI and purified, 5 µl dH2O, 20 µl 2X QuickLigase Buffer (NEB) , the reaction was mixed, and 2 µl of QuickLigase was added. The reaction was incubated at room temperature for 5 minutes. 5 µl of the ligation reaction was transformed into 50 µl chemical competent E. coli ER2683 cells and the cells were plated on L-broth plates containing 100 µg/ml ampicillin and incubated at 37°C overnight. Approximately 200 transformants were obtained and 18 representatives were analyzed as follows: plasmid from each colony was isolated by miniprep procedures and digested with AlwNI and NdeI endonucleases to determine if they contained the correct size insert. 2 of the 18 transformants had the correct size insert of approximately 2800 bp. Both clones were tested to see if they produced MmeI endonuclease activity. The clones were grown overnight at 37°C in 500 mL L-broth containing 100 µg/ml ampicillin. The cells were harvested by centrifugation, suspended in 10 mL sonication buffer (20mM Tris-HCl, 1mM DTT, 0.1mM EDTA, pH7.5) and broken by sonication. The crude lysate was cleared by centrifugation and the supernatant was recovered. The lysate was assayed for endonuclease
activity by serial dilution of the lysate in 1X reaction buffer NEBuffer 1 (New England Biolabs) containing 20 µg/ml lambda DNA substrate and supplemented with SAM at 100 µM final concentration. The reactions were incubated for 1 hour at 37°C. The reaction products were analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis on a 1% agarose gel in 1X TBE buffer. One of the two clones had MmeI endonuclease activity. This active clone was designated strain NEB1457 and was used for subsequent production of MmeI. The plasmid construct expressing MmeI activity in this clone was designated pTBMmeI.1.
EXAMPLE III
THE MmneI ENDONUCLEASE PROVIDES IN VIVO PROTECTION AGAINST MMEI CLEAVAGE
The plasmid pTBMmeI.1 was purified from NEB1457 using the Qiagen miniprep protocol. This plasmid has two MmeI sites in the vector backbone, and one site within the MmeI gene. The plasmid was digested with MmeI to test whether this DNA was resistant to MmeI endonuclease activity, which would indicate that the single MmeI gene was able to methylate DNA in vivo to protect the host DNA against its endonuclease activity. To test this the following were combined:
10 µl pTBMmeI.1 miniprep DNA
15 µl 10X NEBuffer 4
15 µl SAM (1mM stock solution)
110 µl dH20
1 µl MmeI endonuclease (15 units)
The reaction was mixed and split in thirds. To one third was added 0.5 µl dH2O, to the second was added 0.5 µl pRRS vector and to the third was added 0.5 µl PhiXl74
DNA as a positive control. The pTBMmeI.1 was not cleaved by the Mrael endonuclease activity, while the Phixl74 and pRRS DNAs in the same reaction were cleaved, indicating that the three MmeI sites in the pTBMmeI.1 DNA are resistant to MmeI endonuclease activity (Figure 4).
EXAMPLE IV MmeI ENDONUCLEASE SENSITIVITY TO METHYLATION
The prior literature reports that MmeI endonuclease methylates just one strand of its recognition sequence, and that this hemi-methylation does not block subsequent cleavage of the DNA by the endonuclease (Tucholski, Gene 223 (1998) 293-302). To test this a set of four oligonucleotides were synthesized so that a DNA substrate could be formed that was either unmethylated (oligo 1 + oligo 2), methylated in the top strand only (oligo 3 + oligo 2), methylated in the bottom strand only (oligo 1 + oligo 4), or methylated on both strands (oligo 3 + oligo 4). The oligos synthesized were:
Oligo 1:
5 ' -FAM-GTTTGAAGACTCCGACGCGATGGCCAGCGATCGGCGCCTCAGCTTT TG-3' (SEQ ID NO:46)
Oligo 2:
5'-FAM-CAAAAGCTGAGGCGCCGATCGCTGGCCATCGCGTCGGAGTCTTCA AAC-3' (SEQ ID NO:47)
Oligo 3:
5'-FAM-GTTTGAAGACTCCG(6mA)CGCGATGGCCAGCGATCGGCGCCTCAGCTT TTG-3' (SEQ ID NO:48)
Oligo 4:
5' -FAM-CAAAAGCTGAGGCGCCGATCGCTGGCCATCGCGTCGG (6mA) GTCTTCA AAC-3' (SEQ ID NO:49)
(Other nucleotides outside the MmeI recognition sequence were also methylated for other studies, but since MmeI does not have any sequence specifity for these nucleotides this does affect MmeI activity and these other methylations are omitted here for clarity.) Duplex DNA was formed by mixing 100µl top strand oligo (14µM stock) with 100µl bottom strand oligo (14µM stock), heating to 85°C and cooling slowly to 30°C over a time of 20 minutes. MmeI was then used to cleave the oligo pairs in a 30 µl reaction of 1X NEBuffer4, 2. 5 MM oligo, 100 µM SAM and 2.5 units MmeI. As a control, restriction endonuclease Hpyl88I was also used to cleave the oligo DNA. The Hpyl88l recognition sequence overlaps the first 5 nucleotides of the MmeI recognition sequence in this DNA, 5'-TCNGA-3' and is blocked by methylation at the adenine in either strand of the DNA. MmeI was found to cleave unmethylated DNA as expected. In contrast to previous teaching (Tucholski, Gene 223:293-302 (1998)) MmeI did not cleave the hemi-methylated DNA when the top strand only was methylated: 5'-TCCG(N6mA)C-3 ' . When the bottom strand only was methylated MmeI did cleave the DNA. When both strands were methylated MmeI did not cleave the DNA. (Figure 5) This finding is consistent with both the observed ability of the single MmeI enzyme to protect host DNA against cleavage in vivo and the observation that MmeI methylates only the top strand of its recognition sequence. We confirmed the report that MmeI enzyme methylates only the top strand of its recognition sequence by methylating the oligo
pairs above with tritium labeled H3-SAM, washing away the unincorporated SAM and counting the radioactivity in the DNA. Both the unmethylated oligo DNA and the top unmethylated, bottom methylated DNAs had greater than 10-fold more counts than background, while the bottom unmethylated, top methylated DNA and the DNA with both strands methylated had counts near background (Figure 6). These findings indicate that MmeI is a novel type of restriction modification system which does not require a separate methyltransferase enzyme to modify the host DNA to provide protection against the activity of the endonuclease, as is the case for the type IIG (also called type IV) enzymes such as Eco57I.
EXAMPLE V DNA SEQUENCING and ANALYSIS
DNA Sequencing: DNA sequencing was performed on double-stranded templates on an ABI 373 or ABI 377 automated sequencer. Amplified DNA fragments and individual clones were sequenced with primers synthesized as above or from universal primers located in the vector.
Computer analyses: Computer analyses of the DNA sequences obtained were performed with the Genetics Computer Group programs (Deverenx, et al., Nucleic Acids Res. 12:387-395 (1984)) and database similarity searches were performed via the internet at the National Center for Biotechnology Information site
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/BLAST/) using the BLASTX and the BLASTP algorithms (Altschul, et al., J. Mol. Biol 215:403-410 (1990) and Gish, et al., Nature Genet. 3:266-722 (1993)).








We Claim:
1. Isolated DNA coding for a Mmel like endonuclease such as herein described that
expresses a protein having an amino acid sequence with an expectation value
score (e) of less than E=e-30 when compared to SEQ ID 2 and further contains',
(a) a conserved motif comprising (D/E)X8-X12(D/E)XK in an amino terminal
portion of the peptide;
(b) a methyltransferase motif in the middle portion of the peptide similar to
gamma N6-methyladenine methyl transferase ; and
(c) a carboxy sequence similar to the carboxy portion of the Mmel;
provided that the Isolated DNA is not obtained from methylophilus methylotrophus (ATCC Accession No. PTA-4521)
2. A recombinant DNA vector that comprises the isolated DNA as claimed in claim
1.
3. A micro-organism transformed by the vector as claimed in claim 2.
4. A method for producing the Mmel-like restriction endonuclease claimed in claim
1, comprising culturing a micro-organism transformed with the vector as claimed
in claim 2 under conditions suitable for expression of the endonuclease.


Documents:

3475-delnp-2007-abstract (09-05-2007).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Abstract-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-abstract.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-claims (09-05-2007).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Claims-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Claims-(04-10-2010).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Claims-(20-09-2007).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-claims.pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Correspondence-Others-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Correspondence-Others-(04-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-Correspondence-Others-(14-03-2011).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Correspondence-Others-(16-11-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-correspondence-others-1.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-correspondence-others.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-description (complete).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Description Hearing-(21-02-2011).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Drawings-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-drawings.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-1 (09-05-2007).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Form-1-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-1.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-13-(20-09-2007).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-18.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-2 (09-05-2007).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Form-2-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-2.pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Form-3-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-3.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-form-5.pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-GPA-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-delnp-2007-pct-210.pdf

3475-delnp-2007-pct-220.pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Petition-137-(01-10-2010).pdf

3475-DELNP-2007-Petition-138-(01-10-2010).pdf


Patent Number 247769
Indian Patent Application Number 3475/DELNP/2007
PG Journal Number 20/2011
Publication Date 20-May-2011
Grant Date 18-May-2011
Date of Filing 09-May-2007
Name of Patentee NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS INC.
Applicant Address 240 COUNTRY ROAD, IPSWICH, MA 1938, USA
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 BHATIA TANYA, 37 BENEVENTO CIRCLE, PEABODY, MA 01960 USA.
2 LOVASCO LINDSAY 4 SUTTON AVENUE, SALEM, AVENUE, SALEM, MA 01970 USA
3 MORGAN RICHARD D., 31 DONOVANS,S WAY, MIDDLETON,MA 01949 USA.
4 DAVIS THEODORE, 139 DEPOT ROAD, BOXFORD, MA 01921 USA.
PCT International Classification Number C12N
PCT International Application Number PCT/US2003/021570
PCT International Filing date 2003-07-10
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 60/395,431 2002-07-12 U.S.A.