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Adv Genet. 1989;26:99-147.

Bacterial genes involved in response to near-ultraviolet radiation.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


A model of the possible pathways of activities following NUV treatment was presented in Section I and in Fig. 1. Some of the components are firmly established, some are speculative, and many are difficult to evaluate because of insufficient experimental information. Perhaps the most relevant experiments, especially concerning ozone depletion, would be to determine the mutational specificity of NUV. By selecting lacI mutants after exposing cells to NUV, and sequencing the bases of this gene, this is now feasible. There are some problems, however. The mutation frequency is normally so low that it might be difficult to distinguish NUV mutants from spontaneous mutants. However, by irradiating cells having a uvrA or uvrB mutation, the frequency of mutation above background can be increased considerably. There remains the problem as to what fraction of the observed mutations results from oxidative damage. Some of this could be clarified by comparing mutation spectra of cells treated with NUV and cells subjected to excess oxidative damage and determining what fraction results from other avenues of lesion formation in DNA. Different species of reactive oxygen could cause different kinds of DNA lesions, and, fortunately, use of appropriate mutants should allow us to sort out any differences in specificity of lesions. Also, by appropriate manipulation of quantities of endogenous photosensitizers, it might be possible to sort out the specific mutations that are caused by photodynamic action. Another avenue of research is to explore the pathways by which NUV lesions are repaired, and whether such repair is error prone or error free. Again, the use of mutants such as xthA, uvr, and polA should assist in our understanding of the specificity of the mutational events. There are now a number of examples of global control mechanisms whereby cells abruptly shift their protein synthesis pattern under environmental stress. It is important to understand whether NUV stress results in induction of one or more of the known regulatory genes, or whether another regulon might be involved. One particular aspect of regulation that remains unsolved is the role of the katF gene, which is known to regulate the xthA and katE, but it may also regulate other genes as well. A number of striking physiological events occur even at very low fluences of NUV irradiation of cells. In part, this may be related to regulon induction. However, some of these events are in need of special exploration, such as changes at the membrane level.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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