The Escherichia coli SOS mutagenesis proteins UmuD and UmuD' interact physically with the replicative DNA polymerase

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Oct 26;96(22):12373-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.96.22.12373.


The Escherichia coli umuDC operon is induced in response to replication-blocking DNA lesions as part of the SOS response. UmuD protein then undergoes an RecA-facilitated self-cleavage reaction that removes its N-terminal 24 residues to yield UmuD'. UmuD', UmuC, RecA, and some form of the E. coli replicative DNA polymerase, DNA polymerase III holoenzyme, function in translesion synthesis, the potentially mutagenic process of replication over otherwise blocking lesions. Furthermore, it has been proposed that, before cleavage, UmuD together with UmuC acts as a DNA damage checkpoint system that regulates the rate of DNA synthesis in response to DNA damage, thereby allowing time for accurate repair to take place. Here we provide direct evidence that both uncleaved UmuD and UmuD' interact physically with the catalytic, proofreading, and processivity subunits of the E. coli replicative polymerase. Consistent with our model proposing that uncleaved UmuD and UmuD' promote different events, UmuD and UmuD' interact differently with DNA polymerase III: whereas uncleaved UmuD interacts more strongly with beta than it does with alpha, UmuD' interacts more strongly with alpha than it does with beta. We propose that the protein-protein interactions we have characterized are part of a higher-order regulatory system of replication fork management that controls when the umuDC gene products can gain access to the replication fork.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA Polymerase III / metabolism*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Protein Binding
  • Rec A Recombinases / metabolism
  • SOS Response, Genetics*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Rec A Recombinases
  • DNA Polymerase III
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • UmuD protein, E coli