Oligodeoxynucleotide-mediated mutagenesis of the ada gene of Escherichia coli was used to produce two mutant Ada proteins. In mutant I the methyl acceptor Cys-321 for O6-methylguanine was replaced by histidine; and in mutant II the positions of Cys-321 and His-322 of the wild-type protein were inverted. Neither mutant protein had O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase activity, but both retained the phosphotriester-DNA methyltransferase activity involving methyl group transfer to Cys-69. Under the control of the endogenous promoter, synthesis of mutant I protein was undetectable before or after adaptation treatment with N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine. This appeared to be due to both inhibition of transcription of the mutant gene and degradation of the synthesized protein. On the other hand, mutant II protein was inducible by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine, although to a smaller extent than the wild-type protein was, and the phosphotriester-DNA methyltransferase activity appeared to reside in 24- to 30-kilodalton cleavage products. Mutant I protein could be produced under lac promoter control, and its cleavage products, unlike those of mutant II protein, tended to aggregate. These results indicate that (i) Cys-321 cannot be replaced or transposed with the nucleophilic amino acid histidine for O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase function, (ii) single amino acid replacement or transposition at the O6-methylguanine methyl acceptor site can have a profound effect on the in vivo stability and regulatory function of the Ada protein, and (iii) the integrity of the protein may not be absolutely needed for its transcription-activation function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology