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Mol Microbiol. 1996 Jul;21(1):111-22.

A class of gyrase mutants of Salmonella typhimurium show quinolone-like lethality and require rec functions for viability.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


We have identified a new class of DNA gyrase mutants of Salmonella typhimurium that show chronic derepression of the SOS regulon. Thus, these mutants mimic the response of wild-type cells to gyrase inhibitors of the quinolone family. SOS induction by conditional lethal mutations gyrA208 or gyrB652, like that mediated by quinolones, is completely dependent on the function of the recB gene product. Introduction of recA or recB null mutations into these strains exacerbates their temperature-sensitive phenotype and prevents growth at the otherwise permissive temperature of 37 degrees C. Selection of suppressors that concomitantly restore growth at 37 degrees C and SOS induction in a recB- background yielded mutations that relleve the RecB requirement for homologous recombination; namely, sbcB mutations as well as mutations at a new locus that was named sbcE. Such mutations also restore SOS induction in quinolone-treated gyr+ recB- strains. These findings indicate that Rec functions are needed for growth of the gyrase mutants at 37 degrees C and suggest that recombinational repair intermediates constitute the SOS-inducing signal in the mutants as well as in quinolone-treated wild-type bacteria. Unlike quinolones, however, the gyr mutations described in this study do not cause detectable accumulation of "cleavable' gyrase-DNA complexes in plasmid or chromosomal DNA. Yet gyrA208 (the only allele tested) was found to trigger RecB-mediated reckless degradation of chromosomal DNA in recA-cells at restrictive temperatures. Indirect evidence suggests that double-stranded DNA ends, entry sites for the RecBCD enzyme, are generated in the gyr mutants by the breakage of DNA-replication forks. We discuss how this could occur and how recombinational rescue of collapsed replication forks could account for cell survival (and SOS induction) in the gyr mutants as well as in quinolone-treated bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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