Type II restriction-modification systems are comprised of a restriction endonuclease and methyltransferase. The enzymes are coded by individual genes and recognize the same DNA sequence. Endonuclease makes a double-stranded break in the recognition site, and methyltransferase covalently modifies DNA bases within the recognition site, thereby preventing cleavage by the endonuclease. The concerted action of these enzymes plays the role of a primitive immune system and protects the bacterial host cell from invasion by foreign (for example, viral) DNA. However, uncontrolled expression of restriction- modification system genes can result in the death of a bacterial host cell because of endonuclease cleavage of the host DNA. In the present review, data on the regulation of expression of the type II restriction-modification enzymes genes are discussed.
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