Indexed on: 24 Mar '09Published on: 24 Mar '09Published in: Nucleic acids research
Type IIS restriction endonucleases cleave DNA outside their recognition sequences, and are therefore particularly useful in the assembly of DNA from smaller fragments. A limitation of type IIS restriction endonucleases in assembly of long DNA sequences is the relative abundance of their target sites. To facilitate ligation-based assembly of extremely long pieces of DNA, we have engineered a new type IIS restriction endonuclease that combines the specificity of the homing endonuclease I-SceI with the type IIS cleavage pattern of FokI. We linked a non-cleaving mutant of I-SceI, which conveys to the chimeric enzyme its specificity for an 18-bp DNA sequence, to the catalytic domain of FokI, which cuts DNA at a defined site outside the target site. Whereas previously described chimeric endonucleases do not produce type IIS-like precise DNA overhangs suitable for ligation, our chimeric endonuclease cleaves double-stranded DNA exactly 2 and 6 nt from the target site to generate homogeneous, 5', four-base overhangs, which can be ligated with 90% fidelity. We anticipate that these enzymes will be particularly useful in manipulation of DNA fragments larger than a thousand bases, which are very likely to contain target sites for all natural type IIS restriction endonucleases.