Restriction endonucleases of the PD...D/EXK family need Mg2+ for DNA cleavage. Whereas Mg2+ (or Mn2+) promotes catalysis, Ca2+ (without Mg2+) only supports DNA binding. The role of Mg2+ in DNA cleavage by restriction endonucleases has elicited many hypotheses, differing mainly in the number of Mg2+ involved in catalysis. To address this problem, we measured the Mg2+ and Mn2+ concentration dependence of DNA cleavage by BamHI, BglII, Cfr10I, EcoRI, EcoRII (catalytic domain), MboI, NgoMIV, PspGI, and SsoII, which were reported in co-crystal structure analyses to bind one (BglII and EcoRI) or two (BamHI and NgoMIV) Me2+ per active site. DNA cleavage experiments were carried out at various Mg2+ and Mn2+ concentrations at constant ionic strength. All enzymes show a qualitatively similar Mg2+ and Mn2+ concentration dependence. In general, the Mg2+ concentration optimum (between ∼ 1 and 10 mM) is higher than the Mn2+ concentration optimum (between ∼ 0.1 and 1 mM). At still higher Mg2+ or Mn2+ concentrations, the activities of all enzymes tested are reduced but can be reactivated by Ca2+. Based on these results, we propose that one Mg2+ or Mn2+ is critical for restriction enzyme activation, and binding of a second Me2+ plays a role in modulating the activity. Steady-state kinetics carried out with EcoRI and BamHI suggest that binding of a second Mg2+ or Mn2+ mainly leads to an increase in Km, such that the inhibitory effect of excess Mg2+ or Mn2+ can be overcome by increasing the substrate concentration. Our conclusions are supported by molecular dynamics simulations and are consistent with the structural observations of both one and two Me2+ binding to these enzymes.
- phosphodiester bond hydrolysis
- restriction enzyme
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology