Bioinformatics and functional analysis define four distinct groups of AlkB DNA-dioxygenases in bacteria.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1041 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway.
Nucleic Acids Research (Impact Factor: 8.81). 09/2009; 37(21):7124-36. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp774
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The iron(II)- and 2-oxoglutarate (2OG)-dependent dioxygenase AlkB from Escherichia coli (EcAlkB) repairs alkylation damage in DNA by direct reversal. EcAlkB substrates include methylated bases, such as 1-methyladenine (m(1)A) and 3-methylcytosine (m(3)C), as well as certain bulkier lesions, for example the exocyclic adduct 1,N(6)-ethenoadenine (epsilonA). EcAlkB is the only bacterial AlkB protein characterized to date, and we here present an extensive bioinformatics and functional analysis of bacterial AlkB proteins. Based on sequence phylogeny, we show that these proteins can be subdivided into four groups: denoted 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B; each characterized by the presence of specific conserved amino acid residues in the putative nucleotide-recognizing domain. A scattered distribution of AlkB proteins from the four different groups across the bacterial kingdom indicates a substantial degree of horizontal transfer of AlkB genes. DNA repair activity was associated with all tested recombinant AlkB proteins. Notably, both a group 2B protein from Xanthomonas campestris and a group 2A protein from Rhizobium etli repaired etheno adducts, but had negligible activity on methylated bases. Our data indicate that the majority, if not all, of the bacterial AlkB proteins are DNA repair enzymes, and that some of these proteins do not primarily target methylated bases.

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    ABSTRACT: The ALKBH family of Fe(II) and 2-oxoglutarate dependent oxygenases comprises enzymes that display sequence homology to AlkB from E. coli, a DNA repair enzyme that uses an oxidative mechanism to dealkylate methyl and etheno adducts on the nucleobases. Humans have nine different ALKBH proteins, ALKBH1-8 and FTO. Mammalian and plant ALKBH8 are tRNA hydroxylases targeting 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl-modified uridine (mcm5U) at the wobble position of tRNAGly(UCC). In contrast, the genomes of some bacteria encode a protein with strong sequence homology to ALKBH8, and robust DNA repair activity was previously demonstrated for one such protein. To further explore this apparent functional duality of the ALKBH8 proteins, we have here enzymatically characterized a panel of such proteins, originating from bacteria, protozoa and mimivirus. All the enzymes showed DNA repair activity in vitro, but, interestingly, two protozoan ALKBH8s also catalyzed wobble uridine modification of tRNA, thus displaying a dual in vitro activity. Also, we found the modification status of tRNAGly(UCC) to be unaltered in an ALKBH8 deficient mutant of Agrobacterium tumefaciens, indicating that bacterial ALKBH8s have a function different from that of their eukaryotic counterparts. The present study provides new insights on the function and evolution of the ALKBH8 family of proteins.
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    ABSTRACT: Different bioinformatics methods illuminate different aspects of protein function, from specific catalytic activities to broad functional categories. Here, a triple-pronged approach to predict function for a domain of unknown function, DUF2086, is applied. Distant homology to characterised enzymes and conservation of key residues suggest an oxygenase function. Modelling indicates that the substrate is most likely a nucleic acid. Finally, genomic context analysis linking DUF2086 to DNA repair, leads to a predicted activity of oxidative demethylation of damaged bases in DNA. The newly assigned activity is sporadically present in phyla not containing near relatives of the similarly active repair protein AlkB.
    FEBS letters 09/2012; · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 2-oxoglutarate dependent superfamily is a diverse group of non-haem dioxygenases, and is present in prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and archaea. The enzymes differ in substrate preference and reaction chemistry, a factor that precludes their classification by homology studies and electronic annotation schemes alone. In this work, I propose and explore the rationale of using substrates to classify structurally similar alpha-ketoglutarate dependent enzymes. Differential catalysis in phylogenetic clades of 2-OG dependent enzymes, is determined by the interactions of a subset of active-site amino acids. Identifying these with existing computational methods is challenging and not feasible for all proteins. A clustering protocol based on validated mechanisms of catalysis of known molecules, in tandem with group specific hidden markov model profiles is able to differentiate and sequester these enzymes. Access to this repository is by a web server that compares user defined unknown sequences to these pre-defined profiles and outputs a list of predicted catalytic domains. The server is free and is accessible at the following URL ( The proposed stratification is a novel attempt at classifying and predicting 2-oxoglutarate dependent function. In addition, the server will provide researchers with a tool to compare their data to a comprehensive list of HMM profiles of catalytic domains. This work, will aid efforts by investigators to screen and characterize putative 2-OG dependent sequences. The profile database will be updated at regular intervals.
    BMC Research Notes 08/2012; 5:410.

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