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1.  Transcriptional regulation of the Escherichia coli oxyR gene as a function of cell growth. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(19):6181-6186.
The oxyR regulon plays a central role in the defense of Escherichia coli against the endogenous oxidative damage associated with active aerobic growth. Here we have studied the transcriptional regulation of oxyR in E. coli growing aerobically in rich medium. Expression of a single-copy oxyR'::lacZ reporter construct varied sixfold along the growth curve, with the highest value at 4 to 6 h of growth (approximately 14 x 10(8) cells x ml(-1)). Direct measurements of oxyR mRNA by primer extension showed the same biphasic expression but with a peak somewhat earlier in cell growth (2 to 3 h; approximately 3.5 x 10(8) cells x ml(-1)). The results of immunoblotting experiments demonstrated that the level of OxyR protein exhibits the same biphasic expression. Mutant strains lacking adenylate cyclase (cya) or Crp protein (crp) failed to increase oxyR expression during exponential growth. On the other hand, an rpoS mutation allowed oxyR expression to continue increasing as the cells entered stationary phase. Consistent with a biological role for increased levels of OxyR during exponential growth, the crp cya strain had lower activities of catalase hydroperoxidase I and glutathione reductase and an increased sensitivity to exogenously added hydrogen peroxide. These results suggest that the Crp-dependent upregulation of oxyR in exponential phase is a component of a multistep strategy to counteract endogenous oxidative stress in actively growing E. coli cells.
PMCID: PMC179525  PMID: 9324269
2.  Role of the acrAB locus in organic solvent tolerance mediated by expression of marA, soxS, or robA in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(19):6122-6126.
Escherichia coli K-12 strains are normally tolerant to n-hexane and susceptible to cyclohexane. Constitutive expression of marA of the multiple antibiotic resistance (mar) locus or of the soxS or robA gene product produced tolerance to cyclohexane. Inactivation of the mar locus or the robA locus, but not the soxRS locus, increased organic solvent susceptibility in the wild type and Mar mutants (to both n-hexane and cyclohexane). The organic solvent hypersusceptibility is a newly described phenotype for a robA-inactivated strain. Multicopy expression of mar, soxS, or robA induced cyclohexane tolerance in strains with a deleted or inactivated chromosomal mar, soxRS, or robA locus; thus, each transcriptional activator acts independently of the others. However, in a strain with 39 kb of chromosomal DNA, including the mar locus, deleted, only the multicopy complete mar locus, consisting of its two operons, produced cyclohexane tolerance. Deletion of acrAB from either wild-type E. coli K-12 or a Mar mutant resulted in loss of tolerance to both n-hexane and cyclohexane. Organic solvent tolerance mediated by mar, soxS, or robA was not restored in strains with acrAB deleted. These findings strongly suggest that active efflux specified by the acrAB locus is linked to intrinsic organic solvent tolerance and to tolerance mediated by the marA, soxS, or robA gene product in E. coli.
PMCID: PMC179517  PMID: 9324261
3.  Regulation of eukaryotic abasic endonucleases and their role in genetic stability. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  1997;105(Suppl 4):931-934.
Abasic (AP) sites in DNA arise from spontaneous reactions or the action of DNA glycosylases and represent a loss of genetic information. The AP sites can be mutagenic or cytotoxic, and their repair is initiated by class II AP endonucleases, which incise immediately 5' to AP sites. The main enzyme of S. cerevisiae. Apn1, provides cellular resistance to oxidants (e.g., H2O2) or alkylating agents, and limits the spontaneous mutation rate. AP endonucleases from other species can replace Apn1 function in yeast to different extents. We studied the main human enzyme, Ape, with respect to its incision specificity in vitro and the expression of the APE gene in vivo. The results suggest that Ape evolved to act preferentially on AP sites compared to deoxyribose fragments located at oxidative strand breaks and that the incision modes of Ape and Apn1 may be fundamentally different. We also defined the functional APE promoter, and showed that APE expression is transiently downregulated during the regeneration of epidermis after wounding. This latter effect may lead to a window of vulnerability for DNA damage and perhaps mutagenesis during the healing of epidermal and other wounds. Such unexpected effects on the expression of DNA repair enzymes need to be taken into account in analyzing the susceptibility of different tissues to carcinogens.
PMCID: PMC1470031  PMID: 9255583
4.  Cysteine-to-alanine replacements in the Escherichia coli SoxR protein and the role of the [2Fe-2S] centers in transcriptional activation. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1997;25(8):1469-1475.
The Escherichia coli soxRS regulon activates oxidative stress and antibiotic resistance genes in two transcriptional stages. SoxR protein becomes activated in cells exposed to excess superoxide or nitric oxide and then stimulates transcription of the soxS gene, whose product in turn activates>/=10 regulon promoters. Purified SoxR protein is a homodimer containing a pair of [2Fe-2S] centers essential for soxS transcription in vitro . The [2Fe-2S] centers are thought to be anchored by a C-terminal cluster of four cysteine residues in SoxR. Here we analyze mutant SoxR derivatives with individual cysteines replaced by alanine residues (Cys-->Ala). The mutant proteins in cell-free extracts bound the soxS promoter with wild-type affinity, but upon purification lacked Fe or detectable transcriptional activity for soxS in vitro . Electron paramagnetic resonance measurements in vivo indicated that the Cys-->Ala proteins lacked the [2Fe-2S] centers seen for wild-type SoxR. The Cys-->Ala mutant proteins failed to activate soxS expression in vivo in response to paraquat, a superoxide- generating agent. However, when expressed to approximately 5% of the cell protein, the Cys-->Ala derivatives increased basal soxS transcription 2-4-fold. Overexpression of the Cys119-->Ala mutant protein strongly interfered with soxS activation by wild-type SoxR in response to paraquat. These studies demonstrate the essential role of the [2Fe-2S] centers for SoxR activation in vivo ; the data may also indicate oxidant-independent mechanisms of transcriptional activation by SoxR.
PMCID: PMC146616  PMID: 9092651
5.  Abasic site binding by the human apurinic endonuclease, Ape, and determination of the DNA contact sites. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1997;25(5):933-939.
The mutagenic and lethal effects of abasic sites in DNA are averted by repair initiated by 'class II' apurinic (AP) endonucleases, which cleave immediately 5'to abasic sites. We examined substrate binding by the human AP endonuclease, Ape protein (also called Hap1, Apex or Ref-1). In electrophoretic mobility-shift experiments, Ape bound synthetic DNA substrates containing single AP sites or tetrahydrofuran (F) residues. No complexes were detected with single-stranded substrates or unmodified duplex DNA. In EDTA, the concentration of Ape required to shift 50% of duplex F-DNA was approximately 50 nM, while the addition of 10 mM MgCl2 nearly eliminated detectable F-DNA@Ape complexes. Filter-binding studies demonstrated a half-life of approximately 50 s at 0 degrees C for F-DNA@Ape complexes in the presence of EDTA, and <15 s after the addition of Mg2+. The DNA recovered from F-DNA@Ape complexes was intact but was rapidly cleaved upon addition of Mg2+, which suggests that these protein-DNA complexes are on the catalytic pathway for incision. Methylation and ethylation interference experiments identified DNA contacts critical for Ape binding, and Cu-1, 10-phenanthroline footprinting suggested an Ape-induced structural distortion at the abasic site prior to cleavage.
PMCID: PMC146540  PMID: 9023101
6.  Homeostatic regulation of intracellular hydrogen peroxide concentration in aerobically growing Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(2):382-388.
The exponential phase of aerobic growth is associated with risk of endogenous oxidative stress in which cells need to cope with an approximately 10-fold increase in the rate of H2O2 generation. We addressed this issue by studying the regulation of the intracellular concentration of H2O2 in aerobically growing Escherichia coli. Intracellular H2O2 was kept at an almost constant steady-state value of approximately 0.2 microM (variation, less than twofold) over a broad range of cell densities in rich medium. This regulation was achieved in part by a transient increase in the OxyR-dependent transcription of the catalase gene katG (monitored by using a katG::lacZ operon fusion) during exponential growth, directly correlated with the increased rate of H2O2 generation. The OxyR-regulated alkyl hydroperoxide reductase encoded by ahpFC did not detectably affect H2O2 or catalase activity levels. Induction of katG, ahpFC, and perhaps other genes prevented the accumulation of oxidatively modified lipids but may not have protected DNA: the spontaneous mutation rate was significantly increased in both wild-type and delta(oxy)R strains during exponential growth compared to that in these strains during lag or stationary phases. Strains lacking oxyR showed throughout growth an 8- to 10-fold-higher frequency of spontaneous mutation than was seen for wild-type bacteria. The ahpdelta5 allele also had a mutator effect half of that of delta(oxy)R in exponential and stationary phases and equal to that of deltaoxyR in lag phase, perhaps by affecting organic peroxide levels. These results show that oxyR-regulated catalase expression is not solely an emergency response of E. coli to environmental oxidative stress, but also that it mediates a homeostatic regulation of the H2O2 produced by normal aerobic metabolism. The activation of the oxyR regulon in this process occurs at much lower levels of H2O2 (approximately 10(-7)M) than those reported for oxyR activation by exogenous H2O2 (approximately 10(-5) M).
PMCID: PMC178707  PMID: 8990289
7.  In vitro detection of endonuclease IV-specific DNA damage formed by bleomycin in vivo. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1996;24(5):885-889.
Endonuclease IV of Escherichia coli has been implicated by genetic studies in the repair of DNA damage caused by the antitumor drug bleomycin, but the lesion(s) recognized by this enzyme in vivo have not been identified. We used the sensitive primer activation assay, which monitors the formation of 3'-OH groups that support in vitro synthesis by E.coli DNA polymerase I, to determine whether endonuclease IV-specific damage could be detected in the chromosomal DNA of cells lacking the enzyme after in vivo treatment with bleomycin. Chromosomal DNA isolated after a 1 h bleomycin treatment from wild-type, endonuclease IV-deficient (nfo-) and endonuclease IV-overproducing (p-nfo; approximately 10-fold) strains all supported modest polymerase activity. However, in vitro treatment with purified endonuclease IV activated subsequent DNA synthesis with samples from the nfo- strain (an average of 2.6-fold), to a lesser extent for samples from wild-type cells (2.1-fold), and still less for the p-nfo samples (1.5-fold). This pattern is consistent with the presence of unrepaired damage that correlates inversely with the in vivo activity of endonuclease IV. Incubation of the DNA from bleomycin-treated nfo- cells with polymerase and dideoxynucleoside triphosphates lowered the endonuclease IV-independent priming activity, but did not affect the amount of activation seen after endonuclease IV treatment. Primer activation with DNA from the nfo- strain could also be obtained with purified E.coli exonuclease III in vitro, but a quantitative comparison demonstrated that endonuclease IV was > or = 5-fold more active in this assay. Thus, endonuclease IV-specific damage can be detected after in vivo exposure to bleomycin. These may be 2-deoxy-pentos-4-ulose residues, but other possibilities are discussed.
PMCID: PMC145733  PMID: 8600456
8.  Activation of multiple antibiotic resistance and binding of stress-inducible promoters by Escherichia coli Rob protein. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1995;177(7):1655-1661.
Multiple antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli can be mediated by induction of the SoxS or MarA protein, triggered by oxygen radicals (in the soxRS regulon) or certain antibiotics (in the marRAB regulon), respectively. These small proteins (SoxS, 107 residues; MarA, 127 residues) are homologous to the C terminus of the XylS-AraC family of proteins and are more closely related to a approximately 100-residue segment in the N terminus of Rob protein, which binds the right arm of the replication origin, oriC. We investigated whether the SoxS-MarA homology in Rob might extend to the regulation of some of the same inducible genes. Overexpression of Rob indeed conferred multiple antibiotic resistance similar to that known for SoxS and MarA (against chloramphenicol, tetracycline, nalidixic acid, and puromycin), as well as resistance to the superoxide-generating compound phenazine methosulfate. The Rob-induced antibiotic resistance depended only partially on the micF antisense RNA that down-regulates the OmpF outer membrane porin to limit antibiotic uptake. Similar antibiotic resistance was conferred by expression of a Rob fragment containing only the N-terminal 123 residues that constitute the SoxS-MarA homology. Both intact Rob and the N-terminal fragment activated expression of stress genes (inaA, fumC, sodA) but with a pattern distinct from that found for SoxS and MarA. Purified Rob protein bound a DNA fragment containing the micF promoter (50% bound at approximately 10(-9) M Rob) as strongly as it did oriC, and it bound more weakly to DNA containing the sodA, nfo, or zwf promoter (50% bound at 10(-8) to 10(-7) M). Rob formed multiple DNA-protein complexes with these fragments, as seen previously for SoxS. These data point to a DNA-binding gene activator module used in different protein contexts.
PMCID: PMC176790  PMID: 7896685
9.  Roles of nitric oxide in inducible resistance of Escherichia coli to activated murine macrophages. 
Infection and Immunity  1995;63(3):794-798.
Nitric oxide (NO.) is produced as a cytotoxic free radical through enzymatic oxidation of L-arginine in activated macrophages. Pure NO. gas was previously found to induce the Escherichia coli soxRS oxidative stress regulon, which is readily monitored by using a soxS'::lac fusion. The soxRS system includes antioxidant defenses, such as a superoxide dismutase and a DNA repair enzyme for oxidative damage, and protects E. coli from the cytotoxicity of NO.-generating macrophages. Previous experiments involved exposing E. coli to a bolus of NO. rather than the steadily generated gas expected of activated macrophages. We show here detectable induction of soxS transcription by NO. delivered at rates as low as 25 microM/h. Maximal induction was observed at 25 microM NO. per h under anaerobic conditions but at 125 microM/h aerobically. After incubation with murine macrophages, soxS expression was induced in the phagocytosed bacteria up to approximately 30-fold after an 8-h exposure. This in vivo induction was almost completely eliminated by the NO. synthase inhibitor NG-monomethyl-L-arginine. The inhibitor increased the survival of a delta soxRS strain but not that of wild-type E. coli after phagocytosis, which suggests that induction of the soxRS regulon by NO. can counteract most of the cytotoxic effects of NO. production by the macrophages. We show that the soxRS-regulated enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase is an important element of the defense against macrophages.
PMCID: PMC173072  PMID: 7532626
10.  Intracellular generation of superoxide as a by-product of Vibrio harveyi luciferase expressed in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(8):2293-2299.
Luciferase genes are widely used as reporters of gene expression because of the high sensitivity of chemiluminescence detection and the possibility of monitoring light production in intact cells. We engineered fusions of the Escherichia coli soxS promoter to the luciferase structural genes (luxAB) from Vibrio harveyi. Since soxS transcription is positively triggered by the activated SoxR protein in response to agents such as paraquat that generate intracellular superoxide, we hoped to use this construct as a sensitive reporter of redox stress agents. Although a soxR+ soxS'::luxAB fusion exhibited a paraquat-inducible synthesis of luciferase, a smaller increase was consistently observed even in the absence of known soxRS inducers. This endogenous induction was soxR dependent and was further characterized by introducing a plasmid carrying the luciferase structural genes without the soxS promoter into a strain carrying a soxS'::lacZ fusion in the bacterial chromosome. These cells exhibited increased beta-galactosidase expression as they grew into mid-log phase. This increase was ascribed to luciferase activity because beta-galactosidase induction was suppressed (but not eliminated) when the substrate n-decanal was present in the medium. The soxS'::luxAB plasmid transformed superoxide dismutase-deficient strains very poorly under aerobic conditions but just as efficiently as a control plasmid under anaerobic conditions. The production of hydrogen peroxide, the dismutation product of superoxide anion, was significantly increased in strains carrying bacterial luciferase and maximal in the absence of n-decanal. Taken collectively, these data point to the generation of significant amounts of intracellular superoxide by bacterial luciferase, the possible mechanism of which is discussed. In addition to providing insights into the role of superoxide in the activation of the SoxR protein, these results suggest caution in the interpretation of experiments using luciferase as a reporter of gene expression.
PMCID: PMC205351  PMID: 8157597
11.  Repressor mutations in the marRAB operon that activate oxidative stress genes and multiple antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(1):143-148.
Resistance to multiple antibiotics and certain oxidative stress compounds was conferred by three independently selected mutations (marR1, soxQ1, and cfxB1) that mapped to 34 min on the Escherichia coli chromosome. Mutations at this locus can activate the marRAB operon, in which marR encodes a putative repressor of mar transcription and marA encodes a putative transcriptional activator of defense genes against antibiotics and oxidants. Overexpression of the wild-type MarR protein reversed the phenotypes (antibiotic resistance and increased antioxidant enzyme synthesis) of all three mutants. DNA sequence analysis showed that, like marR1, the other two mutations were alterations of marR: a 285-bp deletion in cfxB1 and a GC-->AT transition at codon 70 (Ala-->Thr) in soxQ1. All three mutations cause increased amounts of mar-specific RNA, which supports the hypothesis that MarR has a repressor function in the expression of the marRAB operon. The level of mar RNA was further induced by tetracycline in both the marR1 and soxQ1 strains but not in the cfxB1 deletion mutant. In the cfxB1 strain, the level of expression of a truncated RNA, with or without tetracycline exposure, was the same as the fully induced level in the other two mutants. Overproduction of MarR in the cfxB1 strain repressed the transcription of the truncated RNA and restored transcriptional inducibility by tetracycline. Thus, induction of the marRAB operon results from the relief of the repression exerted by MarR. The marRAB operon evidently activates both antibiotic resistance and oxidative stress genes.
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PMCID: PMC205025  PMID: 8282690
12.  Negative autoregulation by the Escherichia coli SoxS protein: a dampening mechanism for the soxRS redox stress response. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1993;175(22):7492-7494.
The soxRS redox stress regulon of Escherichia coli is triggered in two stages, with the activated SoxR protein stimulating the soxS gene, whose product then triggers transcription of approximately 10 promoters. Genetic and biochemical experiments presented here show that SoxS protein also limits soxS transcription in vivo and binds the soxS promoter in vitro.
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PMCID: PMC206898  PMID: 8226698
13.  Posttranscriptional repression of Escherichia coli OmpF protein in response to redox stress: positive control of the micF antisense RNA by the soxRS locus. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1993;175(4):1026-1031.
The soxRS regulon is a cornerstone of the adaptive defense systems of Escherichia coli against oxidative stress. Unexpectedly, activation of this regulon also enhances bacterial resistance to multiple antibiotics that seem unrelated to oxygen radicals. We previously correlated this multiple antibiotic resistance with a reduced rate of synthesis of the OmpF outer membrane porin that does not affect the OmpC or OmpA porins. Studies presented here, with operon and gene fusions of ompF to lacZ, show that the soxRS-dependent repression of OmpF is achieved posttranscriptionally. We also show posttranscriptional repression of OmpF mediated by the soxQ1 mutation, which maps to the marA locus. These repressions are dependent on the micF gene, which encodes a small RNA partially complementary to the 5' end of the ompF message. Northern (RNA) blotting experiments show that micF transcription is strongly inducible by the superoxide-generating agent paraquat in a manner that depends completely on the soxRS locus. The soxR-constitutive and soxQ1 mutations elevate the expression of micF in the absence of redox stress. However, the antibiotic resistance mediated by a soxR-constitutive mutation was only partially reversed upon deletion of micF. The soxRS regulon therefore includes other components that contribute to general antibiotic resistance, although the relation of this phenotype to oxidative stress remains to be established.
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PMCID: PMC193015  PMID: 7679383
14.  Two-stage control of an oxidative stress regulon: the Escherichia coli SoxR protein triggers redox-inducible expression of the soxS regulatory gene. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1992;174(19):6054-6060.
Escherichia coli responds to the redox stress imposed by superoxide-generating agents such as paraquat by activating the synthesis of as many as 80 polypeptides. Expression of a key group of these inducible proteins is controlled at the transcriptional level by the soxRS locus (the soxRS regulon). A two-stage control system was hypothesized for soxRS, in which an intracellular redox signal would trigger the SoxR protein as a transcriptional activator of the soxS gene and the resulting increased levels of SoxS protein would activate transcription of the various soxRS regulon genes (B. Demple and C.F. Amábile Cuevas, Cell 67:837-839, 1990). We have constructed operon fusions of the E. coli lac genes to the soxS promoter to monitor soxS transcription. Expression from the soxS promoter is strongly inducible by paraquat in a manner strictly dependent on a functional soxR gene. Several other superoxide-generating agents also trigger soxR(+)-dependent soxS expression, and the inductions by paraquat and phenazine methosulfate were dependent on the presence of oxygen. Numerous other oxidative stress agents (H2O2, gamma rays, heat shock, etc.) failed to induce soxS, while aerobic growth of superoxide dismutase-deficient bacteria triggered soxR-dependent soxS expression. These results indicate a specific redox signal for soxS induction. A direct role for SoxR protein in the activation of the soxS gene is indicated by band-shift and DNase I footprinting experiments that demonstrate specific binding of the SoxR protein in cell extracts to the soxS promoter. The mode of SoxR binding to DNA appears to be similar to that of its homolog MerR in that the SoxR footprint spans the -10 to -35 region of the soxS promoter.
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PMCID: PMC207670  PMID: 1400156
15.  Cellular role of yeast Apn1 apurinic endonuclease/3'-diesterase: repair of oxidative and alkylation DNA damage and control of spontaneous mutation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1991;11(9):4537-4544.
The APN1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes the major apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease and 3'-repair DNA diesterase in yeast cell extracts. The Apn1 protein is a homolog of Escherichia coli endonuclease IV, which functions in the repair of some oxidative and alkylation damages in that organism. We show here that yeast strains lacking Apn1 (generated by targeted gene disruption or deletion-replacement) are hypersensitive to both oxidative (hydrogen peroxide and t-butylhydroperoxide) and alkylating (methyl- and ethylmethane sulfonate) agents that damage DNA. These cellular hypersensitivities are correlated with the accumulation of unrepaired damages in the chromosomal DNA of apn1 mutant yeast cells. Hydrogen peroxide-treated APN1+ but not apn1 mutant cells regenerate high-molecular-weight DNA efficiently after the treatment. The DNA strand breaks that accumulate in the Apn1-deficient mutant contain lesions that block the action of DNA polymerase but can be removed in vitro by purified Apn1. An analogous result with DNA from methylmethane sulfonate-treated cells corresponded to the accumulation of unrepaired DNA apurinic sites in the apn1 mutant cells. The rate of spontaneous mutation in apn1 mutant S. cerevisiae was 6- to 12-fold higher than that measured for wild-type yeast cells. This increase indicates that under normal growth conditions, the production of DNA damages that are targets for Apn1 is substantial and that such lesions can be mutagenic when left unrepaired.
PMCID: PMC361329  PMID: 1715020
16.  Activation of oxidative stress genes by mutations at the soxQ/cfxB/marA locus of Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1991;173(14):4433-4439.
Exposure of Escherichia coli to superoxide-generating drugs, such as menadione or paraquat, uniquely induces approximately 40 proteins, nine of which are under the positive control of the soxR locus (at min 92). We report here that certain mutations at a separate locus that we have named soxQ (at min 34) confer some of the phenotypes seen in soxR-constitutive strains, including resistance to menadione. A previously known mutation called cfxB, identified through antibiotic resistance, is likely an allele of soxQ. The soxQ1 and cfxB mutations cause transcriptional activation of the genes that encode Mn-containing superoxide dismutase, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and the soi-17/19::lac and soi-28::lac fusions. These genes are also activated by soxR, but the soxQ1 and cfxB mutations increase the synthesis of seven other proteins not influenced by soxR. Moreover, the soxQ1- and cfxB-dependent phenotypes do not depend on the soxR gene, and gene induction by soxR in response to redox stress does not depend on the soxQ locus. As well as increasing cellular resistance to some oxidants, the soxQ1 and cfxB mutations confer elevated resistance to various antibiotics, probably via diminished expression of outer membrane protein OmpF. The marA1 multiple-antibiotic resistance mutation (also at min 34) behaves like a weak allele of soxQ but probably resides in a nearby gene that, with soxQ, is part of a regulatory complex. We propose that soxQ helps control some oxidative stress proteins as part of another regulon that responds to an unknown environmental signal.
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PMCID: PMC208106  PMID: 1648558
17.  Separation of the SOS-dependent and SOS-independent components of alkylating-agent mutagenesis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1989;171(8):4170-4177.
Escherichia coli plasmids containing the rpsL+ gene (Strs phenotype) as the target for mutation were treated in vitro with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. Following fixation of mutations in E. coli MM294A cells (recA+ Strs), an unselected population of mutant and wild-type plasmids was isolated and transferred into a second host, E. coli 6451 (recA Strr). Strains carrying plasmid-encoded forward mutations were then selected as Strr isolates, while rpsL+ plasmids conferred the dominant Strs phenotype in the second host. Mutation induction and reduced survival of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-treated plasmids were shown to be dose dependent. Because this system permitted analysis and manipulation of the levels of certain methylated bases produced in vitro by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea, it afforded the opportunity to assess directly the relative roles of these bases and of SOS functions in mutagenesis. The methylated plasmid DNA gave a mutation frequency of 6 X 10(-5) (a 40-fold increase over background) in physiologically normal cells. When the same methylated plasmid was repaired in vitro by using purified O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (to correct O6-methylguanine and O4-methylthymine), no mutations were detected above background levels. In contrast, when the methylated plasmid DNA was introduced into host cells induced by UV light for the SOS functions, rpsL mutagenesis was enhanced eightfold over the level seen without SOS induction. This enhancement of mutagenesis by SOS was unaffected by prior treatment of the DNA with O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase. These results demonstrate a predominant mutagenic role for alkylation lesions other than O6-methylguanine or O4-methylthymine when SOS functions are induced. The mutation spectrum of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea under conditions of induced SOS functions revealed a majority of mutagenic events at A . T base pairs.
PMCID: PMC210187  PMID: 2666388
18.  A global response induced in Escherichia coli by redox-cycling agents overlaps with that induced by peroxide stress. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1989;171(7):3933-3939.
Escherichia coli treated with nontoxic levels of the superoxide-generating redox-cycling agents menadione and paraquat showed dramatic changes in protein composition as monitored by two-dimensional gel analysis. The distribution of proteins synthesized after treatment with these agents overlapped significantly with that seen after hydrogen peroxide treatment, and it included all the proteins in the oxyR regulon. The redox-cycling agents also elicited the synthesis of at least 33 other proteins that were not seen with hydrogen peroxide, including three heat shock proteins, the Mn-containing superoxide dismutase, the DNA repair protein endonuclease IV, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. At least some of these redox-inducible proteins appear to be part of a specific response to intracellular superoxide. E. coli is thus equipped with a network of inducible responses against oxidative damage, controlled in multiple regulatory pathways.
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PMCID: PMC210145  PMID: 2472381
19.  Construction of an Escherichia coli K-12 ada deletion by gene replacement in a recD strain reveals a second methyltransferase that repairs alkylated DNA. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1988;170(7):3294-3296.
We constructed an ada deletion by gene replacement in a recD1014 strain of Escherichia coli. Characterization of a delta ada-25 recD+ strain revealed the presence of a second DNA methyltransferase activity in E. coli K-12 which transfers a methyl group from methylated DNA to a protein with a molecular weight of 18,000 to 20,000.
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PMCID: PMC211286  PMID: 3290202
20.  Illegitimate recombination in an Escherichia coli plasmid: modulation by DNA damage and a new bacterial gene. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1988;170(7):2898-2903.
We studied DNA rearrangements in Escherichia coli by using a plasmid-based system with a transcriptionally silent tet gene and selecting for Tetr isolates. The predominant activating event was a 1.3-kilobase-pair deletion in the plasmid between two sites, with 14 of 19 base pairs being identical. These deletions occurred equally frequently in a recA+ strain and a recA13 mutant. However, the frequency of Tetr occurrence was stimulated 50-fold by treatment of the cells with UV light in a process that was at least partly independent of the SOS response. Bacterial mutants deleted for the xth-pnc region of the chromosome exhibited a strongly elevated spontaneous frequency of Tetr isolates, all with the same 1.3-kilobase-pair deletion. This phenotype of high-frequency deletion could be complemented by an episome covering this region, but not by the cloned xth gene. These studies helped to define the role of different DNA damages in illegitimate recombination and identify a region of the E. coli chromosome that contains a gene whose product normally suppresses illegitimate deletions.
PMCID: PMC211227  PMID: 2838451
21.  Glutathione in Escherichia coli is dispensable for resistance to H2O2 and gamma radiation. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1986;168(2):1026-1029.
Escherichia coli devoid of glutathione (because of transposon insertions in the gshA gene) has normal resistance to H2O2, cumene hydroperoxide, heat, or ionizing radiation. Intracellular glutathione thus does not protect E. coli from such lethal oxidative damage. The use of gshA::Tn10 mutants also revealed a glutathione-independent, H2O2-inducible resistance to N-ethylmaleimide.
PMCID: PMC213589  PMID: 3536846
22.  Escherichia coli xth mutants are hypersensitive to hydrogen peroxide. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1983;153(2):1079-1082.
Escherichia coli mutants lacking exonuclease III (xthA) are exceptionally sensitive to hydrogen peroxide. They are killed by H2O2 at 20 times the rate of wild-type bacteria and at 3 to 4 times the rate of recA cells. This is the first clear phenotypic sensitivity reported for xth- E. coli and should aid in clarifying peroxide-induced lethality and the in vivo role of exonuclease III.
PMCID: PMC221738  PMID: 6337115
23.  Mutant Escherichia coli Ada proteins simultaneously defective in the repair of O6-methylguanine and in gene activation. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1986;14(14):5575-5589.
The activated Ada protein triggers expression of DNA repair genes in Escherichia coli in response to alkylation damage. Ada also possesses two distinct suicide alkyltransferase activities, for O6-alkylguanines and for alkyl phosphotriesters in DNA. The mutant Ada3 and Ada5 transferases repair O6-methylguanine in DNA 20 and 3000 times more slowly, respectively, than the wild-type Ada protein, but both exhibit normal DNA phosphotriester repair. These same proteins also exhibit delayed and sluggish induction of the ada and alkA genes. Since the C-terminal O6-methylguanine methyltransferase domain of Ada is not implicated in the direct binding of specific DNA sequences, this part of the Ada protein is likely to play an alternative mechanistic role in gene activation, either by promoting Ada dimerization, or via direct contacts with RNA polymerase.
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PMCID: PMC311577  PMID: 3526284
24.  Analysis of class II (hydrolytic) and class I (beta-lyase) apurinic/apyrimidinic endonucleases with a synthetic DNA substrate. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1990;18(17):5069-5075.
We have developed simple and sensitive assays that distinguish the main classes of apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonucleases: Class I enzymes that cleave on the 3' side of AP sites by beta-elimination, and Class II enzymes that cleave by hydrolysis on the 5' side. The distinction of the two types depends on the use of a synthetic DNA polymer that contains AP sites with 5'-[32P]phosphate residues. Using this approach, we now show directly that Escherichia coli endonuclease IV and human AP endonuclease are Class II enzymes, as inferred previously on the basis of indirect assays. The assay method does not exhibit significant interference by nonspecific nucleases or primary amines, which allows the ready determination of different AP endonuclease activities in crude cell extracts. In this way, we show that virtually all of the Class II AP endonuclease activity in E. coli can be accounted for by two enzymes: exonuclease III and endonuclease IV. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Class II AP endonuclease activity is totally dependent on a single enzyme, the Apn1 protein, but there are probably multiple Class I enzymes. The versatility and ease of our approach should be useful for characterizing this important class of DNA repair enzymes in diverse systems.
PMCID: PMC332125  PMID: 1698278
25.  5,6-Saturated thymine lesions in DNA: production by ultraviolet light or hydrogen peroxide. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1982;10(12):3781-3789.
Thymine analogs with saturated 5-6 bonds are important types of DNA damage that are recognized by the DNA N-glycosylase activity of E. coli endonuclease III. Seeking agents which could preferentially form 5,6-hydrated thymine residues in duplex DNA both in vivo and in vitro, we exposed purified duplex DNA to 325- or 313-nm light; however, after such exposure pyrimidine dimers greatly predominated over 5,6-hydrated thymine. Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, formed significant numbers of endonuclease III-sensitive sites in vitro which were not apurinic/apyrimidinic lesions and thus were likely to be 5,6-hydrated thymines.
PMCID: PMC320752  PMID: 7111022

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