The extremophilic bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans exhibits an extraordinary resistance to ionizing radiation. Previous studies established that a protein named PprI, which exists only in the Deinococcus-Thermus family, acts as a general switch to orchestrate the expression of a number of DNA damage response (DDR) proteins involved in cellular radio-resistance. Here we show that the regulatory mechanism of PprI depends on its Mn(2+)-dependent protease activity toward DdrO, a transcription factor that suppresses DDR genes' expression. Recognition sequence-specificity around the PprI cleavage site is essential for DNA damage repair in vivo. PprI and DdrO mediate a novel DNA damage response pathway differing from the classic LexA-mediated SOS response system found in radiation-sensitive bacterium Escherichia coli. This PprI-mediated pathway in D. radiodurans is indispensable for its extreme radio-resistance and therefore its elucidation significantly advances our understanding of the DNA damage repair mechanism in this amazing organism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)