There have been very few reports on protein domains that specifically recognize sulfur. Here we present the crystal structure of the sulfur-binding domain (SBD) from the DNA phosphorothioation (PT)-dependent restriction endonuclease ScoMcrA. SBD contains a hydrophobic surface cavity that is formed by the aromatic ring of Y164, the pyrolidine ring of P165, and the non-polar side chains of four other residues that serve as lid, base, and wall of the cavity. The SBD and PT-DNA undergo conformational changes upon binding. The S 187 RGRR 191 loop inserts into the DNA major groove to make contacts with the bases of the G PS GCC core sequence. Mutating key residues of SBD impairs PT-DNA association. More than 1000 sequenced microbial species from fourteen phyla contain SBD homologs. We show that three of these homologs bind PT-DNA in vitro and restrict PT-DNA gene transfer in vivo. These results show that SBD-like PT-DNA readers exist widely in prokaryotes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy