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Transcription-induced mutagenic mechanisms limit genetic changes to times when expression happens and to coding DNA. It has been hypothesized that intrinsic sequences that have the potential to form alternate DNA structures, such as non-B DNA structures, influence these mechanisms. Non-B DNA structures are promoted by transcription and induce genome instability in eukaryotic cells, but their impact in bacterial genomes is less known. Here, we investigated if G4 DNA-and hairpin-forming motifs influence stationary-phase mutagenesis in Bacillus subtilis. We developed a system to measure the influence of non-B DNA on B. subtilis stationary-phase mutagenesis by deleting the wild-type argF at its chromosomal position and introducing IPTG-inducible argF alleles differing in their ability to form hairpin and G4 DNA structures into an ectopic locus. Using this system, we found that sequences predicted to form non-B DNA structures promoted mutagenesis in B. subtilis stationary-phase cells; such a response did not occur in growing conditions. We also found that the transcription-coupled repair factor Mfd promoted mutagenesis at these predicted structures. In summary, we showed that non-B DNA-forming motifs promote genetic instability, particularly in coding regions in stressed cells; therefore, non-B DNA structures may have a spatial and temporal mutagenic effect in bacteria. This study provides insights into mechanisms that prevent or promote mutagenesis and advances our understanding of processes underlying bacterial evolution.
B. subtilis; G4 DNA; Hairpins; Mutagenesis; Non-B DNA; Stationary phase
Bacteriology | Microbiology
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Non-B DNA-Forming Motifs Promote Mfd-Dependent Stationary-Phase Mutagenesis in Bacillus Subtilis.