The first reported Type IV restriction endonuclease (REase) GmrSD consists of GmrS and GmrD subunits. In most bacteria, however, the gmrS and gmrD genes are fused together to encode a single-chain protein. The fused coding sequence for ECSTEC94C1402 from E. coli strain STEC94C was expressed in T7 Express. The protein designated as Eco94GmrSD displays modification-dependent ATP-stimulated REase activity on T4 DNA with glucosyl-5-hydroxymethyl-cytosines (glc-5hmC) and T4gt DNA with 5-hydroxymethyl-cytosines (5hmC). A C-terminal 6xHis-tagged protein was purified by two-column chromatography. The enzyme is active in Mg 2+ and Mn 2+ buffer. It prefers to cleave large glc-5hmC-or 5hmC-modified DNA. In phage restriction assays, Eco94GmrSD weakly restricted T4 and T4gt, whereas T4 IPI∗-deficient phage ( "ip1) were restricted more than 10 6-fold, consistent with IPI∗ protection of E. coli DH10B from lethal expression of the closely homologous E. coli CT596 GmrSD. Eco94GmrSD is proposed to belong to the His-Asn-His (HNH)-nuclease family by the identification of a putative C-terminal REase catalytic site D507-H508-N522. Supporting this, GmrSD variants D507A, H508A, and N522A displayed no endonuclease activity. The presence of a large number of fused GmrSD homologs suggests that GmrSD is an effective phage exclusion protein that provides a mechanism to thwart T-even phage infection.
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