Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35377874
Link to DOI – e100994310.1371/journal.pgen.1009943
PLoS Genet 2022 Apr; 18(4): e1009943
Understanding mechanisms that shape horizontal exchange in prokaryotes is a key problem in biology. A major limit on DNA entry is imposed by restriction-modification (RM) processes that depend on the pattern of DNA modification at host-specified sites. In classical RM, endonucleolytic DNA cleavage follows detection of unprotected sites on entering DNA. Recent investigation has uncovered BREX (BacteRiophage EXclusion) systems. These RM-like activities employ host protection by DNA modification, but immediate replication arrest occurs without evident of nuclease action on unmodified phage DNA. Here we show that the historical stySA RM locus of Salmonella enterica sv Typhimurium is a variant BREX system. A laboratory strain disabled for both the restriction and methylation activity of StySA nevertheless has wild type sequence in pglX, the modification gene homolog. Instead, flanking genes pglZ and brxC each carry multiple mutations (μ) in their C-terminal domains. We further investigate this system in situ, replacing the mutated pglZμ and brxCμ genes with the WT counterpart. PglZ-WT supports methylation in the presence of either BrxCμ or BrxC-WT but not in the presence of a deletion/insertion allele, ΔbrxC::cat. Restriction requires both BrxC-WT and PglZ-WT, implicating the BrxC C-terminus specifically in restriction activity. These results suggests that while BrxC, PglZ and PglX are principal components of the BREX modification activity, BrxL is required for restriction only. Furthermore, we show that a partial disruption of brxL disrupts transcription globally.