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What Limits the Efficiency of Double-Strand Break-Dependent Stress-Induced Mutation in Escherichia coliShee C. · Ponder R. · Gibson J.L. · Rosenberg S.M.
Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular Virology and Microbiology, and Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex., USA Corresponding Author
Susan M. Rosenberg
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine
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Stress-induced mutation is a collection of molecular mechanisms in bacterial, yeast and human cells that promote mutagenesis specifically when cells are maladapted to their environment, i.e. when they are stressed. Here, we review one molecular mechanism: double-strand break (DSB)-dependent stress-induced mutagenesis described in starving Escherichia coli. In it, the otherwise high-fidelity process of DSB repair by homologous recombination is switched to an error-prone mode under the control of the RpoS general stress response, which licenses the use of error-prone DNA polymerase, DinB, in DSB repair. This mechanism requires DSB repair proteins, RpoS, the SOS response and DinB. This pathway underlies half of spontaneous chromosomal frameshift and base substitution mutations in starving E. coli [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011;108:13659–13664], yet appeared less efficient in chromosomal than F′ plasmid-borne genes. Here, we demonstrate and quantify DSB-dependent stress-induced reversion of a chromosomal lac allele with DSBs supplied by I-SceI double-strand endonuclease. I-SceI-induced reversion of this allele was previously studied in an F′. We compare the efficiencies of mutagenesis in the two locations. When we account for contributions of an F′-borne extra dinB gene, strain background differences, and bypass considerations of rates of spontaneous DNA breakage by providing I-SceI cuts, the chromosome is still ∼100 times less active than F. We suggest that availability of a homologous partner molecule for recombinational break repair may be limiting. That partner could be a duplicated chromosomal segment or sister chromosome.
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