SgrAI is a type IIF restriction endonuclease that cuts an unusually long recognition sequence and exhibits self-modulation of DNA cleavage activity and sequence specificity. Previous studies have shown that SgrAI forms large oligomers when bound to particular DNA sequences and under the same conditions where SgrAI exhibits accelerated DNA cleavage kinetics. However, the detailed structure and stoichiometry of the SgrAI-DNA complex as well as the basic building block of the oligomers have not been fully characterized. Ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS) was employed to analyze SgrAI-DNA complexes and show that the basic building block of the oligomers is the DNA-bound SgrAI dimer (DBD) with one SgrAI dimer bound to two precleaved duplex DNA molecules each containing one-half of the SgrAI primary recognition sequence. The oligomers contain variable numbers of DBDs with as many as 19 DBDs. Observation of the large oligomers shows that nanoelectrospray ionization (nano-ESI) can preserve the proposed activated form of an enzyme. Finally, the collision cross section of the SgrAI-DNA oligomers measured by IM-MS was found to have a linear relationship with the number of DBDs in each oligomer, suggesting a regular, repeating structure.
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