We have used site-directed mutagenesis of the EcoRV restriction endonuclease to change amino acid side chains that have been shown crystallographically to be in close proximity to the scissile phosphodiester bond of the DNA substrate. DNA cleavage assays of the resulting mutant proteins indicate that the largest effects on nucleolytic activity result from substitution of Asp74, Asp90, and Lys92. We suggest on the basis of structural information, mutagenesis data, and analogies with other nucleases that Asp74 and Asp90 might be involved in Mg2+ binding and/or catalysis and that Lys92 probably stabilizes the pentacovalent phosphorus in the transition state. These amino acids are part of a sequence motif, Pro-Asp...Asp/Glu-X-Lys, which is also present in EcoRI. In both enzymes, it is located in a structurally similar context near the scissile phosphodiester bond. A preliminary mutational analysis with EcoRI indicates that this sequence motif is of similar functional importance for EcoRI and EcoRV. On the basis of these results, a proposal is made for the mechanism of DNA cleavage by EcoRV and EcoRI.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HW13800010
View details for PubMedID 1591242