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Searching for novel photolyases in UVC-resistant Antarctic bacteria

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Ultraviolet (UV) light irradiation has serious consequences for cell survival, including DNA damage by formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and pyrimidine (6,4) pyrimidone photoproducts. In general, the Nucleotide Excision Repair pathway repairs these lesions; however, all living forms, except placental mammals and some marsupials, produce a flavoprotein known as photolyase that directly reverses these lesions. The aim of this work was the isolation and identification of Antarctic UVC-resistant bacteria, and the search for novel photolyases. Two Antarctic water samples were UVC-irradiated (254 nm; 50–200 J m− 2) and 12 UVC-resistant bacteria were isolated and identified by 16S rDNA amplification/analysis as members of the genera Pseudomonas, Janthinobacterium, Flavobacterium, Hymenobacter and Sphingomonas. The UVC 50% lethal dose and the photo-repair ability of isolates were analyzed. The occurrence of photolyase coding sequences in Pseudomonas, Hymenobacter and Sphingomonas isolates were searched by PCR or by searching in the draft DNA genome. Results suggest that Pseudomonas and Hymenobacter isolates produce CDP-photolyases, and Sphingomonas produces two CPD-photolyases and a 6,4-photolyase. Results suggest that the Antarctic environment is an important source of genetic material for the identification of novel photolyase genes with potential biotechnological applications.

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This work was partially supported by PEDECIBA (Programa de Desarrollo de las Ciencias Básicas) and Celsius Laboratory ( The work of JJM was supported by the National Agency of Investigation and Innovation (ANII, Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación). The authors thank the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute for the logistic support during the stay in the Artigas Base. S. Castro-Sowinski, M. A. Morel and W. Martínez-López are members of the National Research System (SNI, Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, of ANII).

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Correspondence to Susana Castro-Sowinski.

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Communicated by M. da Costa.

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Supplementary material 1 Fig. S1 Phylogenetic analyses—Multiple alignments of 16S rRNA gene sequences, including sequences of reference strains, were performed using ClustalW. Gaps and missing data were eliminated and the molecular evolutionary analyses were conducted using MEGA version 7 (Kumar et al. 2016). The evolutionary history was inferred using the neighbor-joining (NJ) and maximum parsimony methods (bootstrap analyses of 500 replicates). Branches with less than 50 % bootstrap replicates were collapsed. The trees showed similar topology; thus, only the NJ-based tree is shown (PPTX 54 KB)

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Marizcurrena, J.J., Morel, M.A., Braña, V. et al. Searching for novel photolyases in UVC-resistant Antarctic bacteria. Extremophiles 21, 409–418 (2017).

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