The methylcytosine-containing sequences in the DNA of Bacillus subtilis 168 Marburg (restriction-modification type BsuM) were determined by three different methods: (i) examination of in vivo-methylated DNA by restriction enzyme digestion and, whenever possible, analysis for methylcytosine at the 5' end; (ii) methylation in vitro of unmethylated DNA with B. subtilis DNA methyltransferase and determination of the methylated sites; and (iii) the methylatability of unmethylated DNA by B. subtilis methyltransferase after potential sites have been destroyed by digestion with restriction endonucleases. The results obtained by these methods, taken together, show that methylcytosine was present only within the sequence 5'-TCGA-3'. The presence of methylcytosine at the 5' end of the DNA fragments generated by restriction endonuclease AsuII digestion and the fact that in vivo-methylated DNA could not be digested by the enzyme XhoI showed that the recognition sequences of these two enzymes contained methylcytosine. As these two enzymes recognized a similar sequence containing a 5' pyrimidine (Py) and a 3' purine (Pu), 5'-PyTCGAPu-3', the possibility that methylcytosine is present in the complementary sequences 5'-TTCGAG-3' and 5'-CTCGAA-3' was postulated. This was verified by the methylation in vitro, with B. subtilis enzyme, of a 2.6-kilobase fragment of lambda DNA containing two such sites and devoid of AsuII or XhoI recognition sequences. By analyzing the methylatable sites, it was found that in one of the two PyTCGAPu sequences, cytosine was methylated in vitro in both DNA strands. It is concluded that the sequence 5'-PyTCGAPu-3' is methylated by the DNA methyltransferase (of cytosine) of B. subtilis Marburg
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