Bacterial DNA repair by non-homologous end joining.
ABSTRACT The capacity to rectify DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is crucial for the survival of all species. DSBs can be repaired either by homologous recombination (HR) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). The long-standing notion that bacteria rely solely on HR for DSB repair has been overturned by evidence that mycobacteria and other genera have an NHEJ system that depends on a dedicated DNA ligase, LigD, and the DNA-end-binding protein Ku. Recent studies have illuminated the role of NHEJ in protecting the bacterial chromosome against DSBs and other clastogenic stresses. There is also emerging evidence of functional crosstalk between bacterial NHEJ proteins and components of other DNA-repair pathways. Although still a young field, bacterial NHEJ promises to teach us a great deal about the nexus of DNA repair and bacterial pathogenesis.
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ABSTRACT: Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. sensu lato (s.l.) is a necrotrophic pathogen causing damage to conifers in the Northern Hemisphere. H. annosum s.l. consists of five species: three European [H. annosum sensu stricto (s.s.), H. parviporum and H. abietinum] and two North American (H. irregulare and H. occidentale); all with different but partially overlapping host preferences. A multilocus phylogenetic tree was built and the divergence times were estimated. Plate tectonics is likely to have been the main factor influencing Heterobasidion speciation and biogeography. Along with the geographical separation, the Heterobasidion species have specialized on different host genera. The H. annosum species complex originated in Laurasia and the H. annosum s.s./H. irregulare and H. parviporum/H. abietinum/H. occidentale ancestral species emerged between 45 million–60 million years ago in the Palaearctic. The data imply that H. irregulare and H. occidentale colonized North America via different routes: H. irregulare colonizing from the east via Trans Atlantic land bridges and H. occidentale colonizing from the west via the Bering Land Bridge. Alternatively H. occidentale originated from North America. Identification of virulence factors is important for understanding the Heterobasidion–conifer pathosystem. Two studies of genetic mapping of virulence were performed. Virulence traits were measured as lesion length in the phloem and fungal growth in the sapwood of pine and spruce. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified and positioned on a genetic linkage map for virulence of 102 progeny isolates from a cross between H. irregulare and H. occidentale. Both virulence traits in Picea abies identified significant QTLs on linkage group (LG) 15. Another QTL was positioned on LG 15 for the lesion length measurement in Pinus sylvestris. Moreover, QTLs on two separate smaller LGs were identified for fungal growth in sapwood and lesion length, respectively. The QTLs probably represent loci important for specific as well as general aspects of virulence on P. sylvestris and P. abies. A genome-wide association study was performed for virulence on 23 H. annosum s.s. isolates. Twelve SNP markers distributed on seven contigs were significantly associated with virulence. From these, three regions were characterized, two with one marker each with the lowest p-values and one region containing six markers. The linkage disequilibrium blocks in these regions ranged between 1.2 and 31.2 kb. Seven genes were identified as candidate virulence determinants encoding calcineurin, acetylglutamate kinase/synthase, cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, serine carboxypeptidase (ToxD), quinone oxidoreductase and two flavin-containing monooxygenases. Keywords: Heterobasidion annosum s.l., virulence, host specificity, conifer, genome-wide association study, QTL, SNP, phylogeny, divergence times. Author’s address: Kerstin Dalman, SLU, Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology, P.O. Box 7026, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden Email: Kerstin.Dalman@mykopat.slu.se12/2010, Degree: PhD, Supervisor: Jan Stenlid and Åke Olson
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ABSTRACT: Ku protein participates in DNA double strand break repair via the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway. The three-dimensional structure of eukaryotic Ku reveals a central core consisting of a β-barrel domain and pillar and bridge regions that combine to form a ring-like structure that encircles DNA. Homologs of Ku are encoded by a subset of bacterial species, and they are predicted to conserve this core domain. In addition, the bridge-region of Ku from some bacteria is predicted from homology modeling and sequence analyses to contain a conventional HxxC and CxxC (where x is any residue) zinc-binding motif. These potential zinc-binding sites have either deteriorated or been entirely lost in Ku from other organisms. Using an in vitro metal binding assay we show that Mycobacterium smegmatis Ku binds two zinc ions. Zinc binding modestly stabilizes the Ku protein (by ~3°C) and prevents cysteine oxidation, but it has little effect on DNA binding. In vivo, zinc induces significant upregulation of the gene encoding Ku (~6-fold) as well as a divergently oriented gene encoding a predicted zinc-dependent MarR family transcription factor. Notably, overexpression of Ku confers zinc tolerance on E. coli. We speculate that zinc binding sites in Ku proteins from M. smegmatis and other mycobacterial species have been evolutionarily retained to provide protection against zinc toxicity without compromising the function of Ku in DNA double strand break repair. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.Protein Science 02/2015; 24(2):253-263. DOI:10.1002/pro.2612 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The last decade has seen an explosion in the application of genomic tools across all biological disciplines. This is also true for mycobacteria, where whole genome sequences are now available for pathogens and non-pathogens alike. Genomes within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex (MTBC) bear the hallmarks of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Conjugation is the form of HGT with the highest potential capacity and evolutionary influence. Donor and recipient strains of Mycobacterium smegmatis actively conjugate upon co-culturing in biofilms and on solid media. Whole genome sequencing of the transconjugant progeny demonstrated the incredible scale and range of genomic variation that conjugation generates. Transconjugant genomes are complex mosaics of the parental strains. Some transconjugant genomes are up to one-quarter donor-derived, distributed over 30 segments. Transferred segments range from ~50 bp to ~225,000 bp in length, and are exchanged with their recipient orthologs all around the genome. This unpredictable genome-wide infusion of DNA sequences is called Distributive Conjugal Transfer (DCT), to distinguish it from traditional oriT-based conjugation. The mosaicism generated in a single transfer event resembles that seen from meiotic recombination in sexually reproducing organisms, and contrasts with traditional models of HGT. This similarity allowed the application of a GWAS-like approach to map the donor genes that confer a donor mating identity phenotype. The mating identity genes map to the esx1 locus, expanding the central role of ESX-1 function in conjugation. The potential for DCT to instantaneously blend genomes will affect how we view mycobacterial evolution, and provide new tools for the facile manipulation of mycobacterial genomes.02/2014; 2(1). DOI:10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0022-2013