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DNA Repair (Amst). 2011 Nov 10;10(11):1121-30. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

The role of Bacillus anthracis RecD2 helicase in DNA mismatch repair.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, and the Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, and the David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


DNA mismatch repair (MMR) systems can be classified as either MutH-dependent or MutH-independent. In bacteria, extensive studies have been conducted with the MutH-dependent MMR in Escherichia coli and its close relatives. The picture of MutH-independent MMR in other bacteria is less clear, as MMR components other than MutS and MutL have not been identified in the majority of bacteria. Bacillus anthracis is one of the MutH-less Gram(+) bacteria in the phylum of Firmicutes. We used papillation as a tool to search for B. anthracis new mutator strains and identified a spontaneous mutator that carries a minitransposon insertion in the BAS4289 locus. The mutational frequency and specificity exhibited in this mutant were comparable to that of MMR-deficient strains with knockouts of mutL or mutS. It retained a similar UV sensitivity profile as that of the wild type. BAS4289 encodes a putative DNA helicase RecD2 that shares 30% sequence identity with Deinococcus radiodurans RecD2, a well characterized superfamily 1B helicase whose homologs are widely present in Firmicutes complete genomes. We demonstrated that the N-terminal region of RecD2, a unique sequence extension used to distinguish RecD2 from RecD1, was important for B. anthracis RecD2, as mutations in the N-terminal conserved motifs affected its DNA repair function. This is the first report of a RecD2 helicase being associated with MMR. RecD2 and our recently described YycJ protein are likely to be two additional components in the B. anthracis MutH-independent MMR system.

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