Role of Mfd and GreA in Bacillus subtilis Base Excision Repair-Dependent Stationary-Phase Mutagenesis

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Journal of Bacteriology





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We report that the absence of an oxidized guanine (GO) system or the apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonucleases Nfo, ExoA, and Nth promoted stress-associated mutagenesis (SAM) in Bacillus subtilis YB955 (hisC952 metB5 leuC427). Moreover, MutY-promoted SAM was Mfd dependent, suggesting that transcriptional transactions over nonbulky DNA lesions promoted error-prone repair. Here, we inquired whether Mfd and GreA, which control transcription-coupled repair and transcription fidelity, influence the mutagenic events occurring in nutritionally stressed B. subtilis YB955 cells deficient in the GO or AP endonuclease repair proteins. To this end, mfd and greA were disabled in genetic backgrounds defective in the GO and AP endonuclease repair proteins, and the strains were tested for growth-associated and stress-associated mutagenesis. The results revealed that disruption of mfd or greA abrogated the production of stress-associated amino acid revertants in the GO and nfo exoA nth strains, respectively. These results suggest that in nutritionally stressed B. subtilis cells, spontaneous nonbulky DNA lesions are processed in an error-prone manner with the participation of Mfd and GreA. In support of this notion, stationary-phase ΔytkD ΔmutM ΔmutY (referred to here as ΔGO) and Δnfo ΔexoA Δnth (referred to here as ΔAP) cells accumulated 8-oxoguanine (8-OxoG) lesions, which increased significantly following Mfd disruption. In contrast, during exponential growth, disruption of mfd or greA increased the production of His+, Met+, or Leu+ prototrophs in both DNA repair-deficient strains. Thus, in addition to unveiling a role for GreA in mutagenesis, our results suggest that Mfd and GreA promote or prevent mutagenic events driven by spontaneous genetic lesions during the life cycle of B. subtilis.


Bacillus subtilis; DNA damage; GreA; Mfd; Oxidative damage; Stress mutagenesis


Genetics and Genomics



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