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Selection of dinB Alleles Suppressing Survival Loss upon dinB Overexpression in Escherichia coli

Benson, Ryan W., Cafarelli, Tiziana M., Rands, Thomas J., Lin, Ida, Godoy, Veronica G.
Journal of bacteriology 2014 v.196 no.16 pp. 3023-3035
DNA damage, DNA-directed DNA polymerase, Escherichia coli, alleles, bacteriology, gene overexpression, mutation, phenotype, plasmids
Escherichia coli strains overproducing DinB undergo survival loss; however, the mechanisms regulating this phenotype are poorly understood. Here we report a genetic selection revealing DinB residues essential to effect this loss-of-survival phenotype. The selection uses strains carrying both an antimutator allele of DNA polymerase III (Pol III) α-subunit (dnaE915) and either chromosomal or plasmid-borne dinB alleles. We hypothesized that dnaE915 cells would respond to DinB overproduction differently from dnaE+ cells because the dnaE915 allele is known to have an altered genetic interaction with dinB+ compared to its interaction with dnaE+. Notably, we observe a loss-of-survival phenotype in dnaE915 strains with either a chromosomal catalytically inactive dinB(D103N) allele or a low-copy-number plasmid-borne dinB+ upon DNA damage treatment. Furthermore, we find that the loss-of-survival phenotype occurs independently of DNA damage treatment in a dnaE915 strain expressing the catalytically inactive dinB(D103N) allele from a low-copy-number plasmid. The selective pressure imposed resulted in suppressor mutations that eliminated growth defects. The dinB intragenic mutations examined were either base pair substitutions or those that we inferred to be loss of function (i.e., deletions and insertions). Further analyses of selected novel dinB alleles, generated by single-base-pair substitutions in the dnaE915 strain, indicated that these no longer effect loss of survival upon overproduction in dnaE+ strains. These mutations are mapped to specific areas of DinB; this permits us to gain insights into the mechanisms underlying the DinB-mediated overproduction loss-of-survival phenotype.