Faculty Research at Morehead State University


A Constitutively Expressed, Truncated umuDC Operon Regulates the recA-Dependent DNA Damage Induction of a Gene in Acinetobacter baylyi Strain ADP1

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In response to environmentally caused DNA damage, SOS genes are up-regulated due to RecA-mediated relief of LexA repression. In Escherichia coli, the SOS umuDC operon is required for DNA damage checkpoint functions and for replicating damaged DNA in the error-prone process called SOS mutagenesis. In the model soil bacterium Acinetobacter baylyi strain ADP1, however, the content, regulation, and function of the umuDC operon are unusual. The umuC gene is incomplete, and a remnant of an ISEhe3-like transposase has replaced the middle 57% of the umuC coding region. The umuD open reading frame is intact, but it is 1.5 times the size of other umuD genes and has an extra 5 region that lacks homology to known umuD genes. Analysis of a umuD::lacZ fusion showed that umuD was expressed at very high levels in both the absence and presence of mitomycin C and that this expression was not affected in a recA-deficient background. The umuD mutation did not affect the growth rate or survival after UV-induced DNA damage. However, the UmuD-like protein found in ADP1 (UmuDAb) was required for induction of an adjacent DNA damage-inducible gene, ddrR. The umuD mutation specifically reduced the DNA damage induction of the RecA-dependent DNA damage-inducible ddrR locus by 83% (from 12.9-fold to 2.3-fold induction), but it did not affect the 33.9-fold induction of benA, an unrelated benzoate degradation gene. These data suggest that the response of the ADP1 umuDC operon to DNA damage is unusual and that UmuDAb specifically regulates the expression of at least one DNA damage inducible gene