Plasmids carrying 24- or 32-base-pair inserts of alternating (dG-dC) residues were used to analyze the level of methylation of the G-C-G-C sites by Hha I DNA methyltransferase and their cleavage by Hha I endonuclease in the B-DNA or Z-DNA conformation. In supercoiled plasmids in which the inserts formed Z-DNA, the extent of methylation at the insert G-C-G-C sites was dramatically lower than the level of methylation at the G-C-G-C sites located outside the insert in the same plasmid. Similarly, cleavage by Hha I endonuclease was sharply lowered when the insert was in the Z-DNA form. In the relaxed plasmid, all its G-C-G-C sites were methylated to the same extent and the unmethylated sites were readily cleaved. After treatment with the methylase, the super-coiled plasmid was linearized and then digested with Hha I restriction endonuclease. This exposed unmethylated G-C-G-C sites from the insert that had been protected against cleavage in the Z conformation. A chemical reaction was used to study the distribution of the unmethylated cytosine residues. No accumulation of unmethylated cytosine residues was found anywhere along the entire 32-base-pair insert, which is consistent with a cooperative B-Z transition.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Issue number||11 I|
|State||Published - 1984|