Identification of the DNA methyltransferases establishing the methylome of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.

Martin Hagemann, Katrin Gärtner, Matthias Scharnagl, Paul Bolay, Steffen C Lott, Janina Fuss, Bruno Huettel, Richard Reinhardt, Stephan Klähn, Wolfgang R Hess
Year of publication:
Journal title abbreviated:
Journal title long:
DNA research
Impact factor:
DNA methylation in bacteria is important for defense against foreign DNA, but is also involved in DNA repair, replication, chromosome partitioning, and regulatory processes. Thus, characterization of the underlying DNA methyltransferases in genetically tractable bacteria is of paramount importance. Here, we characterized the methylome and orphan methyltransferases in the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing revealed four DNA methylation recognition sequences in addition to the previously known motif m5CGATCG, which is recognized by M.Ssp6803I. For three of the new recognition sequences, we identified the responsible methyltransferases. M.Ssp6803II, encoded by the sll0729 gene, modifies GGm4CC, M.Ssp6803III, encoded by slr1803, represents the cyanobacterial dam-like methyltransferase modifying Gm6ATC, and M.Ssp6803V, encoded by slr6095 on plasmid pSYSX, transfers methyl groups to the bipartite motif GGm6AN7TTGG/CCAm6AN7TCC. The remaining methylation recognition sequence GAm6AGGC is probably recognized by methyltransferase M.Ssp6803IV encoded by slr6050. M.Ssp6803III and M.Ssp6803IV were essential for the viability of Synechocystis, while the strains lacking M.Ssp6803I and M.Ssp6803V showed growth similar to the wild type. In contrast, growth was strongly diminished of the Δsll0729 mutant lacking M.Ssp6803II. These data provide the basis for systematic studies on the molecular mechanisms impacted by these methyltransferases.