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Keywords:

  • bacillus subtilis;
  • DNA repair;
  • spore photoproduct;
  • spores;
  • UV resistance

Abstract

Dormant spores of the various Bacillus species, including B. subtilis, are 5 to 50 times more resistant to UV radiation than are the corresponding growing cells. This elevated spore UV resistance is due to: a) the photochemistry of DNA within spores, as UV generates few if any cyclobutane dimers, but rather a photoproduct (Fig. 1) called spore photoproduct (SP; 5-thyminyl-5,6-dihydrothymine); and b) DNA repair, in particular SP-specific repair, during spore germination. The novel UV photochemistry of spore DNA is largely due to its saturation with a group of small, acid-soluble proteins (SASP), which are unique to spores and whose binding alters the DNA conformation and thus its photochemistry. SP-specific repair is also unique to spores and is carried out by a light-independent SP-lyase, an iron-sulfur protein that utilizes S-adenosylmethionine to catalyze SP monomerization without DNA backbone cleavage. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 38:97–104, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.