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PLoS One. 2017 Nov 9;12(11):e0187900. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187900. eCollection 2017.

The helicase DinG responds to stress due to DNA double strand breaks.

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Department of Microbiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Microbiology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) is a Gram-negative nasopharyngeal commensal that can cause septicaemia and meningitis. The neisserial DNA damage-inducible protein DinG is a helicase related to the mammalian helicases XPD and FANCJ. These helicases belong to superfamily 2, are ATP dependent and exert 5' → 3' directionality. To better understand the role of DinG in neisserial genome maintenance, the Nm DinG (DinGNm) enzymatic activities were assessed in vitro and phenotypical characterization of a dinG null mutant (NmΔdinG) was performed. Like its homologues, DinGNm possesses 5' → 3' directionality and prefers DNA substrates containing a 5'-overhang. ATPase activity of DinGNm is strictly DNA-dependent and DNA unwinding activity requires nucleoside triphosphate and divalent metal cations. DinGNm directly binds SSBNm with a Kd of 313 nM. Genotoxic stress analysis demonstrated that NmΔdinG was more sensitive to double-strand DNA breaks (DSB) induced by mitomycin C (MMC) than the Nm wildtype, defining the role of neisserial DinG in DSB repair. Notably, when NmΔdinG cells grown under MMC stress assessed by quantitative mass spectrometry, 134 proteins were shown to be differentially abundant (DA) compared to unstressed NmΔdinG cells. Among the DNA replication, repair and recombination proteins affected, polymerase III subunits and recombinational repair proteins RuvA, RuvB, RecB and RecD were significantly down regulated while TopA and SSB were upregulated under stress condition. Most of the other DA proteins detected are involved in metabolic functions. The present study shows that the helicase DinG is probably involved in regulating metabolic pathways as well as in genome maintenance.

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