An analysis of restriction endonuclease cleavage of DNA isolated from cyanophages that infect and species of cyanobacteria has provided evidence for counter-selection of restriction endonuclease sites. These include sites containing subsequences which are methylated by host ( PCC 7120) methylase(s) akin to the and enzymes of . Other sites which are counter-selected have no common sequence structure. The latter include those of the endogenous restriction endonucleases of the host, but other absent sequences are not attributable to isoschizomers of any known or restriction endonuclease. The cyanophages differ in their tolerance to DNA methylation. Isolates A-4L, AN-13 and AN-23 do not tolerate adenosine methylation in the GATC sequence whereas two cyanophages, A-1L and AN-10 (which are related) do tolerate -like methylation of this sequence. In addition, A-1L allows cytosine methylation at GGCC sequences, but AN-10 has counter-selected these sequences and the remaining sites are not methylated. Analysis of native and cloned A-4L DNA suggests that counter-selection has occurred against all sequences which would be methylated by the host at either adenosine or cytosine nucleotides.


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