Evidence for the role of Mycobacterium tuberculosis RecG helicase in DNA repair and recombination



G. Nagaraju, Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India

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In order to survive and replicate in a variety of stressful conditions during its life cycle, Mycobacterium tuberculosis must possess mechanisms to safeguard the integrity of the genome. Although DNA repair and recombination related genes are thought to play key roles in the repair of damaged DNA in all organisms, so far only a few of them have been functionally characterized in the tubercle bacillus. In this study, we show that M. tuberculosis RecG (MtRecG) expression was induced in response to different genotoxic agents. Strikingly, expression of MtRecG in Escherichia coli ∆recG mutant strain provided protection against mitomycin C, methyl methane sulfonate and UV induced cell death. Purified MtRecG exhibited higher binding affinity for the Holliday junction (HJ) compared with a number of canonical recombinational DNA repair intermediates. Notably, although MtRecG binds at the core of the mobile and immobile HJs, and with higher binding affinity for the immobile HJ, branch migration was evident only in the case of the mobile HJ. Furthermore, immobile HJs stimulate MtRecG ATPase activity less efficiently than mobile HJs. In addition to HJ substrates, MtRecG exhibited binding affinity for a variety of branched DNA structures including three-way junctions, replication forks, flap structures, forked duplex and a D-loop structure, but demonstrated strong unwinding activity on replication fork and flap DNA structures. Together, these results support that MtRecG plays an important role in processes related to DNA metabolism under normal as well as stress conditions.