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Jul 2017 PLoS genetics

Processing closely spaced lesions during Nucleotide Excision Repair triggers mutagenesis in E. coli.


Janel-Bintz R, Napolitano RL, Isogawa A, Fujii S, Fuchs RP


It is generally assumed that most point mutations are fixed when damage containing template DNA undergoes replication, either right at the fork or behind the fork during gap filling. Here we provide genetic evidence for a pathway, dependent on Nucleotide Excision Repair, that induces mutations when processing closely spaced lesions. This pathway, referred to as Nucleotide Excision Repair-induced Mutagenesis (NERiM), exhibits several characteristics distinct from mutations that occur within the course of replication: i) following UV irradiation, NER-induced mutations are fixed much more rapidly (t ½ ≈ 30 min) than replication dependent mutations (t ½ ≈ 80-100 min) ii) NERiM specifically requires DNA Pol IV in addition to Pol V iii) NERiM exhibits a two-hit dose-response curve that suggests processing of closely spaced lesions. A mathematical model let us define the geometry (infer the structure) of the toxic intermediate as being formed when NER incises a lesion that resides in close proximity of another lesion in the complementary strand. This critical NER intermediate requires Pol IV / Pol II for repair, it is either lethal if left unrepaired or mutation-prone when repaired. Finally, NERiM is found to operate in stationary phase cells providing an intriguing possibility for ongoing evolution in the absence of replication.

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