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Interaction of metronidazole with DNA repair mutants of Escherichia coli.

By T C Yeung, B B Beaulieu, M A McLafferty and P Goldman


It has been proposed that one of metronidazole's partially reduced intermediates interacts either with DNA to exert a bactericidal effect or with water to form acetamide. To test this hypothesis we have examined the effect of metronidazole on several mutants of Escherichia coli that are defective in DNA repair. UV-susceptible RecA- and UvrB- point mutants have an increased susceptibility to metronidazole as manifested by both a decreased minimal inhibitory concentration and a greater bactericidal response to metronidazole in resting cultures. By these criteria, however, we find that UvrB- deletion mutants, which lack the ability to reduce nitrate and chlorate, are no more susceptible to metronidazole than is the wild type. We find, however, that these deletion mutants also lack the ability to reduce metronidazole and thus possibly to form its reactive species. When metronidazole's bactericidal effect is expressed in terms of the concurrent accumulation of acetamide derived from metronidazole, then all RecA- and UvrB- mutants are killed more efficiently than their wild types. The data are consistent, therefore, with metronidazole's lethal effect being mediated by a partially reduced intermediate on the metabolic pathway between metronidazole and acetamide. Defects in other aspects of the DNA repair system do not confer this increased susceptibility to the proposed intermediate. A Tag- mutant, for example, which is defective in 3-methyl-adenine-DNA glycosylase, does not have this increased susceptibility to the presumed precursor of acetamide. Thus, these results provide further support for the hypothesis that the bactericidal effect of metronidazole is mediated by a partially reduced intermediate in the metabolic conversion of metronidazole to acetamide and suggest that this intermediate interacts with DNA to produce a lesion similar to that caused by UV light

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1984
DOI identifier: 10.1128/aac.25.1.65
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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