Large-Scale Identification and Analysis of C-Proteins
The restriction-modification system is a toxin–antitoxin mechanism of bacterial cells to resist phage attacks. High efficiency comes at a price of high maintenance costs: (1) a host cell dies whenever it loses restriction-modification genes and (2) whenever a plasmid with restriction-modification genes enters a naïve cell, modification enzyme (methylase) has to be expressed prior to the synthesis of the restriction enzyme (restrictase) or the cell dies. These phenomena imply a sophisticated regulatory mechanism. During the evolution several such mechanisms were developed, of which one relies on a special C(control)-protein, a short autoregulatory protein containing an HTH-domain. Given the extreme diversity among restriction-modification systems, one could expect that C-proteins had evolved into several groups that might differ in autoregulatory binding sites architecture. However, only a few C-proteins (and the corresponding binding sites) were known before this study. Bioinformatics studies applied to C-proteins and their binding sites were limited to groups of well-known C-proteins and lacked systematic analysis. In this work, the authors use bioinformatics techniques to discover 201 C-protein genes with predicted autoregulatory binding sites. The systematic analysis of the predicted sites allowed for the discovery of 10 structural classes of binding sites.
Key wordsRestriction-modification systems C-proteins DNA-binding proteins bioinformatics transcription regulation
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