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Molecular analysis of Bacillus subtilis ada mutants deficient in the adaptive response to simple alkylating agents.

Morohoshi F., Hayashi K., Munakata N.

Previously, we isolated and characterized six Bacillus subtilis ada mutants that were hypersensitive to methylnitroso compounds and deficient in the adaptive response to alkylation. Cloning of the DNA complementing the defects revealed the presence of an ada operon consisting of two tandem and partially overlapping genes, adaA and adaB. The two genes encoded proteins with methylphosphotriester-DNA methyltransferase and O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase activities, respectively. To locate the six mutations, the ada operon was divided into five overlapping regions of about 350 bp. The fragments of each region were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and analyzed by gel electrophoresis to detect single-strand conformation polymorphism. Nucleotide sequences of the fragments exhibiting mobility shifts were determined. Three of the mutants carried sequence alterations in the adaA gene: the adaA1 and adaA2 mutants had a one-base deletion and insertion, respectively, and the adaA5 mutant had a substitution of two consecutive bases causing changes of two amino acid residues next to the presumptive alkyl-accepting Cys-85 residue. Three mutants carried sequence alterations in the adaB gene: the adaB3 mutant contained a rearrangement, the adaB6 mutant contained a base substitution causing a change of the presumptive alkyl-accepting Cys-141 to Tyr, and the adaB4 mutant contained a base substitution changing Leu-167 to Pro. The adaB mutants produced ada transcripts upon treatment with low doses of alkylating agents, whereas the adaA mutant did not. We conclude that the AdaA protein functions as the transcriptional activator of this operon, while the AdaB protein specializes in repair of alkylated residues in DNA.

J. Bacteriol. 173:7834-7840(1991) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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