Faculty Research at Morehead State University

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The DNA damage response of the multidrug-resistant pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii, which induces mutagenic UmuD′2C error-prone polymerases, differs from that of many bacteria. Acinetobacter species lack a LexA repressor, but induce gene transcription after DNA damage. One regulator, UmuDAb, binds to and represses the promoters of the multiple A. baumannii ATCC 17978 umuDC alleles and the divergently transcribed umuDAb and ddrR genes. ddrR is unique to the genus Acinetobacter and of unknown function. 5' RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) PCR mapping of the umuDAb and ddrR transcriptional start sites revealed that their −35 promoter elements overlapped the UmuDAb binding site, suggesting that UmuDAb simultaneously repressed expression of both genes by blocking polymerase access. This coordinated control of ddrR and umuDAb suggested that ddrR might also regulate DNA damage-inducible gene transcription. RNA-sequencing experiments in 17 978 ddrR− cells showed that ddrR regulated approximately 25 % (n=39) of the mitomycin C-induced regulon, with umuDAb coregulating 17 of these ddrR-regulated genes. Eight genes (the umuDC polymerases, umuDAb and ddrR) were de-repressed in the absence of DNA damage, and nine genes were uninduced in the presence of DNA damage, in both ddrR and umuDAb mutant strains. These data suggest ddrR has multiple roles, both as a co-repressor and as a positive regulator of DNA damage-inducible gene transcription. Additionally, 57 genes were induced by mitomycin C in the ddrR mutant but not in wild-type cells. This regulon contained multiple genes for DNA replication, recombination and repair, transcriptional regulators, RND efflux, and transport. This study uncovered another regulator of the atypical DNA damage response of this genus, to help describe how this pathogen acquires drug resistance through its expression of the error-prone polymerases under DdrR and UmuDAb control.



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