Increase of positive supercoiling in a hyperthermophilic archaeon after UV irradiation
Diverse DNA repair mechanisms are essential to all living organisms. Some of the most widespread repair systems allow recovery of genome integrity in the face of UV radiation. Here, we show that the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus nautili possesses a remarkable ability to recovery from extreme chromosomal damage. Immediately following UV irradiation, chromosomal DNA of T. nautili is fragmented beyond recognition. However, the extensive UV-induced double-stranded breaks (DSB) are repaired over the course of several hours, allowing restoration of growth. DSBs also disrupted plasmid DNA in this species. Similar to the chromosome, plasmid integrity was restored during an outgrowth period. Intriguingly, the topology of recovered pTN1 plasmids differed from control strain by being more positively supercoiled. As reverse gyrase (RG) is the only enzyme capable of inducing positive supercoiling, our results suggest the activation of RG activity by UV-induced stress. We suggest simple UV stress could be used to study archaeal DNA repair and responses to DSB.
KeywordsUV irradiation Double-strand breaks Plasmid Topology
A.G and P.F were funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, project Thermovésicules (ANR 12-BSV3-003-01). P.F and R.C were supported by the European Research council, project EVOMOBIL (FP/2007-2013)—ERC Grant agreement no. 340440 to PF.
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