Photobiology pp 177-182 | Cite as

What is the Molecular Mechanism of UV Mutagenesis in Escherichia coli?

  • John R. Battista
  • Takehiko Nohmi
  • Caroline E. Donnelly
  • Graham C. Walker


Previous genetic studies have indicated that most UV mutagenesis in Escherichia coli requires the participation of the umuD and umuC gene products. However the mechanism of UV mutagenesis is not yet understood and the roles of the UmuD and UmuC proteins have not been elucidated. The umuDC operon is induced by UV irradiation and regulated as part of the SOS response. Genetic evidence now indicates that RecA-mediated cleavage activates UmuD for its role in mutagenesis. The COOH-terminal fragment of UmuD is both necessary and sufficient for this role. The RecA protein appears to have third role in UV mutagenesis besides mediating the cleavage of LexA and UmuD at the time of SOS induction. In addition, we have obtained evidence which indicates that the GroEL and GroES proteins also play a role in UV mutagenesis. Similarities of the amino acid sequence of UmuD to the sequence of gene 45 protein of bacteriophage T4 and of the sequence of UmuC to those of the gene 44 and gene 62 proteins suggest possible roles for UmuD and UmuC in mutagenesis that are supported by preliminary evidence.


RecA Protein Chemical Mutagenesis Share Homology Putative Cleavage Site Apurinic Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alberts, B. M. 1984. The DNA enzymology of protein machines. Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, 49, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bridges, B. A. and Woodgate, R. 1984. Mutagenic repair in Escherichia coli X. The umuC gene product may be required for replication past pyrimidine dimers but not for the coding error in UV mutagenesis. Molecular and General Genetics, 196, 364–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burckhardt, S. E., Woodgate, R., Scheuermann, R. H., and Echols, H. 1988. UmuD mutagenesis protein of Escherichia coli: Overproduction, purification, and cleavage by RecA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A., 85, 1811–1815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dutreix, M., Moreau., P.E, Bailone, A., Galibert, F., Battista., J., Walker., G. C., and Devoret, R. 1989. New recA mutations that dissociate the various RecA protein activities in Escherichia coli: Evidence for an additional role for RecA protein in UV mutagenesis. J. of Bacteriology, 171, 2415–2423.Google Scholar
  5. Eguchi, Y., Ogawa, T. and Ogawa, H. 1988. Cleavage of phage ø80 cI repressor by RecA Protein. Journal of Molecular Biology, 202, 565–573.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elledge, S. J., and Walker, G. C. 1983. Proteins required for ultraviolet light and chemical mutagenesis: identification of the products of the umuC locus of E. coli. Journal of Molecular Biology, 164, 175–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hevroni, D., and Livneh, Z. 1988. Bypass and termination at apurinic sites during replication of single-stranded DNA in vitro: a model for apurinic site mutagenesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 85, 5046–5050.Google Scholar
  8. Kato, T. and Shinoura, Y. 1977. Isolation and characterization of mutants of Escherichia coli that are deficient in induction of mutations by ultraviolet light. Molecular and General Genetics 156, 121–131.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Little, J. W. 1984. Autodigestion of LexA and phage λ repressors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A. 81, 1375–1379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Livneh, Z. 1986. Mechanism of replication of ultraviolet-irradiated single stranded DNA by DNA polymerase III holoenzyme of Escherichia coli implications for SOS mutagenesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry 261, 9526–9533.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Marsh, L., and Walker, G. C. 1985. Cold sensitivity induced by overproduction of UmuDC in Escherichia coli. Journal of Bacteriology 162, 155–161.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Nohmi, T., Battista, J. R., Dodson, L. A., and Walker, G. C. 1988. RecA-mediated cleavage activates UmuD for mutagenesis: Mechanistic relationship between transcriptional derepression and posttranslational activation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A. 85, 722–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Perry, K. L., Elledge, S. J., Mitchell, B. B., Marsh, L., and Walker, G. C. 1985. umuDC and mucAB operons whose products are required for UV light-and chemical-induced mutagenesis: UmuD, MucA, and LexA proteins share homology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A. 82, 4331–4335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Perry, K. L., and Walker, G. C. 1982. Identification of plasmid(pKM101)-coded proteins involved in mutagenesis and UV resistance. Nature (London) 300, 278–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Radman, M. 1974. Phenomenology of an inducible mutagenic DNA repair pathway in Escherichia coli SOS repair hypothesis. Molecular and Environmental Aspects of Mutagenesis, edited by L. Prakash, F. Sherman, M. Miller, C. Lawrence, and H.W. Tabor. (Springfield, Ill., Charles C. Thomas, Publisher), pp. 128–142.Google Scholar
  16. Sauer, R. T., Yocum, R. R., Doolittle, R. F., Lewis, M., and Pabo, C. O. 1982. Homology among DNA-binding proteins suggests use of a conserved super-secondary structure. Nature 298, 447–451.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Slilaty, S. N., and Little, J. W. 1987. Lysine-156 and serine-119 are required for LexA repressor cleavage: a possible mechanism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A. 84, 3987–3991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Walker, G. C. 1984. Mutagenesis and Inducible Responses to Deoxyribonucleic Acid Damage in Escherichia coli. Microbiology Reviews, 48, 60–93.Google Scholar
  19. Weigle, J.J. 1953. Induction of mutation in a bacterial virus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U.S.A. 39, 628–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Witkin, E. 1969. Ultraviolet-induced mutation and DNA repair. Microbiological Reviews 23, 487–514.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Battista
    • 1
  • Takehiko Nohmi
    • 1
  • Caroline E. Donnelly
    • 1
  • Graham C. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations