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Mol Microbiol. 2008 Nov;70(3):608-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06423.x. Epub 2008 Aug 29.

Overproduction of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase DinB (Pol IV) inhibits replication fork progression and is lethal.

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1
Department of Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan.

Abstract

Escherichia coli dinB encodes the specialized DNA polymerase DinB (Pol IV), which is induced as part of the SOS stress-response system and functions in translesion synthesis (TLS) to relieve the replicative Pol III that is stalled at DNA lesions. As the number of DinB molecules, even in unstressed cells, is greater than that required to accomplish TLS, it is thought that dinB plays some additional physiological role. Here, we overexpressed dinB under the tightly regulable arabinose promoter and looked for a distinct phenotype. Upon induction of dinB expression, progression of the replication fork was immediately inhibited at random genomic positions, and the colony-forming ability of the cells was reduced. Overexpression of mutated dinB alleles revealed that the structural requirements for these two inhibitory effects and for TLS were distinct. The extent of in vivo inhibition displayed by a mutant DinB matched the extent of its in vitro impedance, at near-physiological concentration, of a moving Pol III. We suggest that DinB targets Pol III, thereby acting as a brake on replication fork progression. Because the brake operates when cells have excess DinB, as they do under stress conditions, it may serve as a checkpoint that modulates replication to safeguard genome stability.

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