An Amazing Distortion in DNA Induced by a Methyltransferase (Nobel Lecture)

Authors

  • Prof. Dr. Richard J. Roberts

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    • New England Biolabs, 32 Tozer Road, Beverly, MA 01915 (USA), Telefax: Int. code + (508)921-1527
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  • Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1994.—We thank the Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, for permission to print this lecture.

Abstract

original image

Not a bend or kink in the DNA, but the flip of the base to be methylated out the DNA helix (picture on the right) occurs when a methyltransferase binds to DNA. This was the key result of the X-ray structure analysis of a ternary complex of M. HhaI, AdoMet, and a 5-fluorocytosine-substituted DNA double helix. This conformational shift may generally play a major role in the opening up of DNA helices.

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