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A DNA methyltransferase was isolated from a eucaryotic, Chlorella-like green alga infected with the virus PBCV-1. The enzyme recognized the sequence GATC and methylated deoxyadenosine solely in GATC sequences. Host DNA, which contains GATC sequences, but not PBCV-1 DNA, which contains GmATC sequences, was a good substrate for the enzyme in vitro. The DNA methyltransferase activity was first detected about 1 h after viral infection; PBCV-1 DNA synthesis and host DNA degradation also began at about this time. The appearance of the DNA methyltransferase activity required de novo protein synthesis, and the enzyme was probably virus encoded. Methylation of DNAs with the PBCV-1-induced methyltransferase conferred resistance of the DNAs to a PBCV-1-induced restriction endonuclease enzyme described previously (Y. Xia, D. E. Burbank, L. Uher, D. Rabussay, and J. L. Van Etten, Mol. Cell. Biol. 6:1430-1439). We propose that the PBCV-1-induced methyltransferase protects viral DNA from the PBCV-1-induced restriction endonuclease and is part of a virus-induced restriction and modification system in PBCV-1-infected Chlorella cells.