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    The bacterial DNA damage response pathway (SOS response) is composed of a network of genes regulated by a single transcriptional repressor, LexA. The lexA promoter, itself, contains two LexA operators, enabling negative feedback. In Escherichia coli, the downstream operator contains a conserved DNA cytosine methyltransferase (Dcm) site that is predicted to be methylated to 5-methylcytosine (5mC) specifically during stationary phase growth, suggesting a regulatory role for DNA methylation in the SOS response. To test this, we quantified 5mC at the lexA locus, and then examined the effect of LexA on Dcm activity, as well as the impact of this 5mC mark on LexA binding, lexA transcription, and SOS response induction. We found that 5mC at the lexA promoter is specific to stationary phase growth, but that it does not affect lexA expression. Our data support a model where LexA binding at the promoter inhibits Dcm activity without an effect on the SOS regulon. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Genetics Society of America.


    Elizabeth B Lewis, Edwin Chen, Matthew J Culyba. DNA cytosine methylation at the lexA promoter of Escherichia coli is stationary phase specific. G3 (Bethesda, Md.). 2022 Feb 04;12(2)

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    PMID: 34849799

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