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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Oct;50(2):609-21.

Heat and DNA damage induction of the LexA-like regulator HdiR from Lactococcus lactis is mediated by RecA and ClpP.

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University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences, Division of Microbiology and Epidemiology, PO Box 57, 00014 Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland.


The SOS response is a paradigm for bacterial cells response to DNA damage. Yet some bacteria lack a homologue of the SOS regulator, LexA, including the Gram-positive, Lactococcus lactis. In this organism we have identified a negative transcriptional regulator, HdiR that induces target gene expression both upon DNA damage and heat shock. Gel mobility shift assays revealed that the binding site for HdiR is located within an inverted repeat structure. HdiR is able to carry out a self-cleavage reaction in vitro at high pHs, while in vivo it undergoes RecA-dependent self-cleavage in the presence of a DNA-damaging agent. Intriguingly, the N-terminal cleavage product of HdiR retains DNA binding activity, and only when degraded by the Clp protease, is gene expression induced. Thus, the activity of HdiR in response to DNA damage is controlled by sequential proteolysis, involving self-cleavage and Clp-dependent degradation of HdiR. During heat-stress, limited self-cleavage occurs; however, recA and clpP are still required for full induction of target gene expression. Thus, our data show that common elements are involved in both the DNA damage and the heat-mediated induction of the HdiR regulon.

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