Methylation of specific cytosine residues enhances simian virus 40 T-antigen binding to origin region DNA.
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Specific binding of simian virus 40 large T antigen to origin region DNA requires the interaction of T antigen with multiples of a consensus recognition pentanucleotide sequence (5'-G[T]-A[G]-G-G-C-3'). To assess the interaction of T antigen with cytosine residues in the recognition sequences, bacterial methylases were used to methylate simian virus 40 form I DNA in vitro at specific cytosine residues. Methylation of a subset of the cytosine residues in the pentanucleotide sequences resulted in enhanced binding of T antigen to origin region DNA. Enhanced binding to the methylated pentanucleotides indicates that the methyl groups introduced on this subset of pentanucleotide cytosine residues could not have sterically interfered with the interaction of T antigen with the recognition sequences. This lack of steric interference suggests that T antigen does not make close contact in the major groove with these particular cytosine residues during normal binding.
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