Most mutagenesis by UV and many chemicals in Escherichia coli requires the products of the umuDC operon or an analogous plasmid-derived operon mucAB. Activated RecA protein is also required for, or enhances, this process. MucA and UmuD proteins share homology with the LexA protein, suggesting that they might interact with the RecA protein as LexA does. We used oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis to alter a site in MucA homologous to the Ala-Gly cleavage site of LexA. The mutation, termed mucA101(Glu26), results in a change of Gly26 of MucA to Glu26. A lexA(Def) recA441 umuC122::Tn5 strain carrying a mucA101(Glu26)B+ plasmid did not exhibit the greatly increased frequency of spontaneous mutagenesis in response to RecA activation that a strain carrying a mucA+B+ plasmid did but retained a basal recA-dependent ability to confer increased spontaneous mutagenesis that was independent of the state of RecA activation. These results are consistent with a model in which RecA plays two distinct roles in mutagenesis apart from its role in the cleavage of LexA. A pBR322-derived plasmid carrying mucA+B+, but not one carrying mucA101(Glu26)B+, inhibited the UV induction of SOS genes, suggesting that MucA+ and MucA(Glu26) proteins may have different abilities to compete with LexA for activated RecA protein. The spectrum of UV-induced mutagenesis was also altered in strains carrying the mucA101(Glu26) mutation. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that activated RecA protein interacts with wild-type MucA protein, possibly promoting proteolytic cleavage, and that this interaction is responsible for facilitating certain mutagenic processes
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.