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Title: Induction of the SOS regulon of Haemophilus influenzae does not affect phase variation rates at tetranucleotide or dinucleotide repeats.
Authors: Sweetman, WA
Moxon, ER
Bayliss, CD
First Published: Aug-2005
Citation: MICROBIOLOGY, 2005, 151 (Pt 8), pp. 2751-2763
Abstract: Haemophilus influenzae has microsatellite repeat tracts in 5' coding regions or promoters of several genes that are important for commensal and virulence behaviour. Changes in repeat number lead to switches in expression of these genes, a process referred to as phase variation. Hence, the virulence behaviour of this organism may be influenced by factors that alter the frequency of mutations in these repeat tracts. In Escherichia coli, induction of the SOS response destabilizes dinucleotide repeat tracts. H. influenzae encodes a homologue of the E. coli SOS repressor, LexA. The H. influenzae genome sequence was screened for the presence of the minimal consensus LexA-binding sequence from E. coli, CTG(N)(10)CAG, in order to identify genes with the potential to be SOS regulated. Twenty-five genes were identified that had LexA-binding sequences within 200 bp of the start codon. An H. influenzae non-inducible LexA mutant (lexA(NI)) was generated by site-directed mutagenesis. This mutant showed increased sensitivity, compared with wild-type (WT) cells, to both UV irradiation and mitomycin C (mitC) treatment. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR studies confirmed that H. influenzae mounts a LexA-regulated SOS response following DNA assault. Transcript levels of lexA, recA, recN, recX, ruvA and impA were increased in WT cells following DNA damage but not in lexA(NI) cells. Induction of the H. influenzae SOS response by UV irradiation or mitC treatment did not lead to any observable SOS-dependent changes in phase variation rates at either dinucleotide or tetranucleotide repeat tracts. Treatment with mitC caused a small increase in phase variation rates in both repeat tracts, independently of an SOS response. We suggest that the difference between H. influenzae and E. coli with regard to the effect of the SOS response on dinucleotide phase variation rates is due to the absence of any of the known trans-lesion synthesis DNA polymerases in H. influenzae.
DOI Link: 10.1099/mic.0.27996-0
ISSN: 1350-0872
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Genetics

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