DNA synthesis during double-strand break repair in escherichia coli
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/12/2100
Efficient and accurate repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) is required to maintain genomic stability in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. In Escherichia coli, DSBs are repaired by homologous recombination (HR). During this process, DNA synthesis needs to be primed and templated from an intact homologous sequence to restore any information that may have been lost on the broken DNA molecule. Two critical late stages of the pathway are repair DNA synthesis and the processing of Holliday junctions (HJs). However, our knowledge of the detailed mechanisms of these steps is still limited. Our laboratory has developed a system that permits the induction of a site-specific DSB in the bacterial chromosome. This break forms in a replication dependent manner on one of the sister chromosomes, leaving the second sister chromosome intact for repair by HR. Unlike previously available systems, the repairable nature of these breaks has made it possible to physically investigate the different stages of DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR) in a chromosomal context. In this thesis, I have addressed some fundamental questions relating to repair DNA synthesis and processing of HJs by using a combination of mutants defective in specific biochemical reactions and an assay that I have developed to detect repair DNA synthesis, using a polar termination sequence (terB). First, by using terB sites located at different locations around the break point, it was shown that the DnaB-dependent repair forks are established in a coordinated manner, meaning that the collision of the repair forks occurs between two repair DNA synthesis initiation sites. Second, DSBR was shown to require the PriB protein known to transduce the DNA synthesis initiation signal from PriA protein to DnaT. Conversely, the PriC protein (known as an alternative to PriB in some reactions) was not required in this process. PriB was also shown to be required to establish DnaB-dependent repair synthesis using the terB assay. Third, the establishment and termination of repair DNA synthesis by collision of converging repair forks were shown to occur independently of HJ resolution. This conclusion results from the comparison of the viability of single and double mutants, deficient in either the establishment of DNA synthesis, HJ resolution or in both reactions, subjected to DSBs and from the study of the DNA intermediates that accumulated in these mutants as detected by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Fourth, the role of RecG protein during DSB repair was investigated. Solexa sequencing analyses showed that recG null mutant cells undergoing DSBs accumulate more DNA around the break point (Mawer and Leach, unpublished data). This phenomenon was further investigated by two different approaches. Using terB sites in different locations around the break point and ChIP-Seq analyses to investigate the distribution of RecA in a recG null mutant demonstrating that the establishment of repair forks depends on the presence of RecG. Further studies using PriA helicase-dead mutant showed that the interplay between RecG and PriA proteins is essential for the establishment of correctly oriented repair forks during DSBR. As a whole, this work provides evidence on the coordinated nature of the establishment and termination of DNA synthesis during DSBR and how this requires a correct interplay between PriA-PriB and RecG. A new adapted model of homologous recombination is presented.