Roles of chromosomal and episomal dinB genes encoding DNA pol IV in targeted and untargeted mutagenesis in Escherichia coli

Mol Genet Genomics. 2001 Oct;266(2):207-15. doi: 10.1007/s004380100541.


DNA polymerase IV (pol IV) in Escherichia coli is a member of a novel family of DNA polymerases (the DinB/UmuC/Rad30/Rev1 super-family or the DNA polymerase Y family). Although expression of the dinB gene encoding DNA pol IV is known to result in an enhancement of untargeted mutagenesis, it remains uncertain whether DNA pol IV is involved in a variety of lesion-induced mutagenesis (targeted mutagenesis), and the relationship between expression levels of dinB and the mutagenesis that DNA pol IV promotes has not been investigated thoroughly. Here, we report that DNA pol IV is involved in -1 frameshift mutagenesis induced by 4-nitroquinoline N-oxide (4-NQO) and that the expression level of the chromosomal pol IV gene is 6-12 times higher than those for other SOS-inducible DNA polymerases in E. coli, i.e., DNA pol II (PolB) or DNA pol V (UmuDC), respectively. Interestingly, the dinB gene is present not only on the chromosome but also on the F' plasmid in the E. coli CC108 strain. In this strain, 750 molecules of DNA pol IV are expressed from the F' dinB gene in the uninduced state and 250 molecules are expressed from the chromosomal gene. These cellular expression levels strongly affect -1 frameshifts induced by 4-NQO in runs of six guanine bases: mutagenicity was highest in the strain CC108, followed by strains YG2242 (chromosome deltadinB/F' dinB+), YG2247 (chromosome dinB+/F' deltadinB) and FC1243 (chromosome deltadinB/F' deltadinB). The incidence of untargeted -1 frameshifts was reduced by two-thirds on deletion of dinB from the F' episome. The chromosomal dinB gene appeared to have little or no effect on the untargeted mutagenesis. These results suggest that DNA pol IV efficiently mediates targeted mutagenesis by 4-NQO, and that the cellular levels of expression substantially affect targeted and untargeted mutagenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Nitroquinoline-1-oxide / pharmacology
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA Polymerase beta / genetics*
  • DNA Polymerase beta / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Frameshift Mutation / drug effects
  • Frameshift Mutation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Mutagenesis / drug effects
  • Mutagenesis / genetics*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Quinolones / pharmacology


  • 4-nitroquinolone-1-oxide
  • Quinolones
  • 4-Nitroquinoline-1-oxide
  • DNA Polymerase beta