Methylated and hydroxymethylated cytosine containing DNA was restricted by proteins encoded by themcrBC (rglB) loci ofE. coli. In vivo, RglB proteins recognize and cleave hmCT2 and hmCT4 DNAs at 30°C and 42°C but hmCT6 DNA was unaffected at both temperatures, However, cells carrying therglB genes cloned on pBR322 (pDSS17) did not restrict hmCT6 at 30°C, but hmCT6 DNA was cleaved efficiently at 42°C. Heat shock treatment for five minutes was enough to induce this promiscuity in recognition specificity. We call this activity RglB star. A single copy ofrglB located on the chromosome or cloned on a low copy vector pMU575 failed to show RglB star activity.De novo protein synthesis was not required for the manifestation of RglB star activity.