Brevia

The SOS Response Controls Integron Recombination

Science  22 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5930, pp. 1034
DOI: 10.1126/science.1172914

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Abstract

Integrons are found in the genome of hundreds of environmental bacteria but are mainly known for their role in the capture and spread of antibiotic resistance determinants among Gram-negative pathogens. We report a direct link between this system and the ubiquitous SOS response. We found that LexA controlled expression of most integron integrases and consequently regulated cassette recombination. This regulatory coupling enhanced the potential for cassette swapping and capture in cells under stress, while minimizing cassette rearrangements or loss in constant environments. This finding exposes integrons as integrated adaptive systems and has implications for antibiotic treatment policies.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

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