Capacity of RecA protein to bind preferentially to UV lesions and inhibit the editing subunit (epsilon) of DNA polymerase III: a possible mechanism for SOS-induced targeted mutagenesis.


The RecA protein of Escherichia coli is required for SOS-induced ...
The RecA protein of Escherichia coli is required for SOS-induced mutagenesis in addition to its recombinational and regulatory roles. Most SOS-induced mutations probably occur during replication across a DNA lesion (targeted mutagenesis). We have suggested previously that RecA might participate in targeted mutagenesis by binding preferentially to the site of the DNA damage (e.g., pyrimidine dimer) because of its partially unwound character; DNA polymerase III (polIII) will then encounter RecA-coated DNA at the lesion and might replicate across the damaged site with reduced fidelity. In this report, we analyze at a biochemical level two major predictions of this model. With respect to lesion recognition, we show that purified RecA protein binds more efficiently to UV-irradiated double-stranded DNA than to nonirradiated DNA, as judged by filter-binding and gel electrophoresis assays. With respect to replication fidelity, Fersht and Knill-Jones [Fersht, A. R. & Knill-Jones, J. W. (1983) J. Mol. Biol. 165, 669-682] have found that RecA inhibits the 3'----5' exonuclease (editing function) of polIII holoenzyme. We extend this observation by demonstrating that RecA inhibits the exonuclease of the purified editing subunit of polIII, epsilon protein. Thus, we suggest that the activities of RecA required for targeted mutagenesis are lesion-recognition, followed by localized inhibition of the editing capacity of the epsilon subunit of polIII holoenzme. In this proposed mechanism, one activation signal for RecA for mutagenesis is the lesion itself. Because UV-irradiated, double-stranded DNA efficiently activates RecA for cleavage of the LexA repressor, the lesion itself may also often serve as an activation signal for induction of SOS-controlled genes.




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