Involvement of the Nucleotide Excision Repair Protein UvrA in Instability of CAG·CTG Repeat Sequences in Escherichia coli

Elena A. Oussatcheva, Vera I. Hashem, Yue Zou, Richard R. Sinden, Vladimir N. Potaman

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50 Scopus citations


Several human genetic diseases have been associated with the genetic instability, specifically expansion, of trinucleotide repeat sequences such as (CTG)n·(CAG)n. Molecular models of repeat instability imply replication slippage and the formation of loops and imperfect hairpins in single strands. Subsequently, these loops or hairpins may be recognized and processed by DNA repair systems. To evaluate the potential role of nucleotide excision repair in repeat instability, we measured the rates of repeat deletion in wild type and excision repair-deficient Escherichia coli strains (using a genetic assay for deletions). The rate of triplet repeat deletion decreased in an E. coli strain deficient in the damage rec. ognition protein UvrA. Moreover, loops containing 23 CTG repeats were less efficiently excised from heteroduplex plasmids after their transformation into the uvrA - strain. As a result, an increased proportion of plasmids containing the full-length repeat were recovered after the replication of heteroduplex plasmids containing unrepaired loops. In biochemical experiments, UvrA bound to heteroduplex substrates containing repeat loops of 1, 2, or 17 CAG repeats with a Kd of about 10-20 nM, which is an affinity about 2 orders of magnitude higher than that of UvrA bound to the control substrates containing (CTG)n·(CAG)n in the linear form. These results suggest that UvrA is involved in triplet repeat instability in cells. Specifically, UvrA may bind to loops formed during replication slippage or in slipped strand DNA and initiate DNA repair events that result in repeat deletion. These results imply a more comprehensive role for UvrA, in addition to the recognition of DNA damage, in maintaining the integrity of the genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30878-30884
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 17 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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