ROS1 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylase is a slow-turnover catalyst that initiates DNA demethylation in a distributive fashion
Rodríguez Ariza, Rafael
Ponferrada-Marín, María Isabel
EditorOxford University Press
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Arabidopsis ROS1 belongs to a family of plant 5-methycytosine DNA glycosylases that initiate DNA demethylation through base excision. ROS1 displays the remarkable capacity to excise 5-meC, and to a lesser extent T, while retaining the ability to discriminate effectively against C and U. We found that replacement of the C5-methyl group by halogen substituents greatly decreased excision of the target base. Furthermore, 5-meC was excised more efficiently from mismatches, whereas excision of T only occurred when mispaired with G. These results suggest that ROS1 specificity arises by a combination of selective recognition at the active site and thermodynamic stability of the target base. We also found that ROS1 is a low-turnover catalyst because it binds tightly to the abasic site left after 5-meC removal. This binding leads to a highly distributive behaviour of the enzyme on DNA substrates containing multiple 5-meC residues, and may help to avoid generation of double-strand breaks during processing of bimethylated CG dinucleotides. We conclude that the biochemical properties of ROS1 are consistent with its proposed role in protecting the plant genome from excess methylation.