Responses of Mn2+ speciation in Deinococcus radiodurans and Escherichia coli to γ-radiation by advanced paramagnetic resonance methods

Ajay Sharma, Elena K. Gaidamakova, Vera Y. Matrosova, Brian Bennett, Michael J. Daly, Brian M. Hoffman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The remarkable ability of bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans to survive extreme doses of γ-rays (12,000 Gy), 20 times greater than Escherichia coli, is undiminished by loss of Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase (SodA). D. radiodurans radiation resistance is attributed to the accumulation of low-molecular-weight (LMW) "antioxidant" Mn2+-metabolite complexes that protect essential enzymes from oxidative damage. However, in vivo information about such complexes within D. radiodurans cells is lacking, and the idea that they can supplant reactive-oxygen-species (ROS)-scavenging enzymes remains controversial. In this report, measurements by advanced paramagnetic resonance techniques [electron-spin-echo (ESE)-EPR/electron nuclear double resonance/ESE envelope modulation (ESEEM)] reveal differential details of the in vivo Mn2+ speciation in D. radiodurans and E. coli cells and their responses to 10 kGy γ-irradiation. The Mn2+ of D. radiodurans exists predominantly as LMW complexes with nitrogenous metabolites and orthophosphate, with negligible EPR signal from Mn2+ of SodA. Thus, the extreme radiation resistance of D. radiodurans cells cannot be attributed to SodA. Correspondingly, 10 kGy irradiation causes no change in D. radiodurans Mn2+ speciation, despite the paucity of holo-SodA. In contrast, the EPR signal of E. coli is dominated by signals from low-symmetry enzyme sites such as that of SodA, with a minority pool of LMW Mn2+ complexes that show negligible coordination by nitrogenous metabolites. Nonetheless, irradiation of E. coli majorly changes LMW Mn2+ speciation, with extensive binding of nitrogenous ligands created by irradiation. We infer that E. coli is highly susceptible to radiation-induced ROS because it lacks an adequate supply of LMW Mn antioxidants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5945-5950
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 9 2013


  • Cellular radiation resistance
  • Desiccation
  • UVC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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