DNA Damage-Induced Replication Fork Regression and Processing in Escherichia coli

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Science  14 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5609, pp. 1064-1067
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081328

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DNA lesions that block replication are a primary cause of rearrangements, mutations, and lethality in all cells. After ultraviolet (UV)-induced DNA damage in Escherichia coli, replication recovery requires RecA and several other recFpathway proteins. To characterize the mechanism by which lesion-blocked replication forks recover, we used two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis to show that replication-blocking DNA lesions induce a transient reversal of the replication fork in vivo. The reversed replication fork intermediate is stabilized by RecA and RecF and is degraded by the RecQ-RecJ helicase-nuclease when these proteins are absent. We propose that fork regression allows repair enzymes to gain access to the replication-blocking lesion, allowing processive replication to resume once the blocking lesion is removed.

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