Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is universally used to recognize and remove many types of DNA damage. In eubacteria, the NER system typically consists of UvrA, UvrB, UvrC, the UvrD helicase, DNA polymerase I, and ligase. In addition, when DNA damage blocks transcription, transcription-repair coupling factor (TRCF), the product of the mfd gene, recruits the Uvr complex to repair the damage. Previous work using selected mutants and assays have indicated that pathogenic Neisseria spp. carry a functional NER system. In order to comprehensively examine the role of NER in Neisseria gonorrhoeae DNA recombination and repair processes, the predicted NER genes (uvrA, uvrB, uvrC, uvrD, and mfd) were each disrupted by a transposon insertion, and the uvrB and uvrD mutants were complemented with a copy of each gene in an ectopic locus. Each uvr mutant strain was highly sensitive to UV irradiation and also showed sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide killing, confirming that all of the NER genes in N. gonorrhoeae are functional. The effect of RecA expression on UV survival was minor in uvr mutants but much larger in the mfd mutant. All of the NER mutants demonstrated wild-type levels of pilin antigenic variation and DNA transformation. However, the uvrD mutant exhibited higher frequencies of PilC-mediated pilus phase variation and spontaneous mutation, a finding consistent with a role for UvrD in mismatch repair. We conclude that NER functions are conserved in N. gonorrhoeae and are important for the DNA repair capabilities of this strict human pathogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology