National Academy of Sciences
The CcrM adenine DNA methyltransferase, which specifically modifies GANTC sequences, is necessary for viability in Caulobacter crescentus. To our knowledge, this is the first example of an essential prokaryotic DNA methyltransferase that is not part of a DNA restriction/modification system. Homologs of CcrM are widespread in the Cl subdivision of the Proteobacteria, suggesting that methylation at GANTC sites may have important functions in other members of this diverse group as well. Temporal control of DNA methylation state has an important role in Caulobacter development, and we show that this organism utilizes an unusual mechanism for control of remethylation of newly replicated DNA. CcrM is synthesized de novo late in the cell cycle, coincident with full methylation of the chromosome, and is then subjected to proteolysis prior to cell division.
Stephens C, Reisenauer A, Wright R, Shapiro L. A cell cycle-regulated bacterial DNA methyltransferase is essential for viability. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 1996;93:1210-1214.