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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Feb 6;93(3):1292-7.

Products of DNA mismatch repair genes mutS and mutL are required for transcription-coupled nucleotide-excision repair of the lactose operon in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Pathology, Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0093, USA.


To improve our understanding of the mechanism that couples nucleotide-excision repair to transcription in expressed genes, we have examined the effects of mutations in several different DNA repair genes on the removal of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers from the individual strands of the induced lactose operon in UV-irradiated Escherichia coli. As expected, we found little repair in either strand of the lactose operon in strains with mutations in established nucleotide excision-repair genes (uvrA, uvrB, uvrC, or uvrD). In contrast, we found that mutations in either of two genes required for DNA-mismatch correction (mutS and mutL) selectively abolish rapid repair in the transcribed strand and render the cells moderately sensitive to UV irradiation. Similar results were found in a strain with a mutation in the mfd gene, the product of which has been previously shown to be required for transcription-coupled repair in vitro. Our results demonstrate an association between mismatch-correction and nucleotide-excision repair and implicate components of DNA-mismatch repair in transcription-coupled repair. In addition, they may have important consequences for human disease and may enhance our understanding of the etiology of certain cancers which have been associated with defects in mismatch correction.

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