Construction and characterization of two lexA mutants of Salmonella typhimurium with different UV sensitivities and UV mutabilities

Berta Clerch, Xavier Garriga, Eduard Torrents, Carlos M. Rosales, Montserrat Llagostera

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Salmonella typhimurium has a SOS regulon which resembles that of Escherichia coli, recA mutants of S. typhimurium have already been isolated, but no mutations in lexA have been described yet. In this work, two different lexA mutants of S. typhimurium LT2 have been constructed on a sulA background to prevent cell death and further characterized. The lexA552 and lexA11 alleles contain an insertion of the kanamycin resistance fragment into the carboxy- and amino-terminal regions of the lexA gene, respectively. SOS induction assays indicated that both lexA mutants exhibited a LexA(Def) phenotype, although SOS genes were apparently more derepressed in the lexA11 mutant than in the lexA552 mutant. Like lexA (Def) of E. coli, both lexA mutations only moderately increased the UV survival of S. typhimurium, and the lexA552 strain was as mutable as the lexA+ strain by UV in the presence of plasmids encoding MucAB or E. coli UmuDC (UmuDC(Ec)). In contrast, a lexA11 strain carrying any of these plasmids was nonmutable by UV. This unexpected behavior was abolished when the lexA11 mutation was complemented in trans by the lexA gene of S. typhimurium. The results of UV mutagenesis correlated well with those of survival to UV irradiation, indicating that MucAB and UmuDC(Ec) proteins participate in the error-prone repair of UV damage in lexA552 but not in lexA11. These intriguing differences between the mutagenic responses of lexA552 and lexA11 mutants to UV irradiation are discussed, taking into account the different degrees to which the SOS response is derepressed in these mutants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2890-2896
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


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