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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of endogenous carotenoids and defective RpoS sigma factor on spontaneous mutation under starvation conditions in Escherichia coli: evidence for the possible involvement of singlet oxygen.

Under starvation conditions, a variety of stationary phase genes are up-regulated under the control of the stationary phase sigma factor RpoS including at least two peroxidases and a protective DNA binding protein Dps. Previous work suggested that the reversion to prototrophy of certain amino acid auxotrophs of Escherichia coli that occurs when the bacteria are starved of a required amino acid results from the accumulation of oxidative damage to guanine residues in DNA. We report here that three strains lacking RpoS are indistinguishable from wild type in their ability to undergo this starvation-associated mutation, suggesting that basal levels of catalase activity are more than adequate in these strains, and that the induction of catalases and other proteins controlled by rpoS does not contribute to the protection of the DNA, at least in cells starved in early stationary phase. In comparison, the introduction of a plasmid specifying the production of singlet oxygen scavengers (carotenoids) in stationary phase cells led to a roughly twofold reduction in mutant yield. The results suggest that singlet oxygen may be an important endogenously produced mutagen in resting cells.[1]


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