Environmental stress and lesion-bypass DNA polymerases

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2006;60:231-53. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.60.080805.142238.


In nature, microbes live under a variety of harsh conditions, such as excess DNA damage, starvation, pH shift, or high temperatures. Microbial cells respond to such stressful conditions mostly by switching global patterns of gene expression to relieve the environmental stress. The SOS response, which is induced by DNA damage, is one such global network of gene expression that plays a crucial role in balancing the genomic stability and flexibility that are necessary to adapt to harsh environments. Here, I review the roles of SOS-inducible and noninducible lesion-bypass DNA polymerases in mutagenesis induced by environmental stress, and discuss how these polymerases are coordinated for the replication of damaged chromosomes. Possible contributions of lesion-bypass DNA polymerase in hyperthermophilic archaea, e.g., Sulfolobus solfataricus, to genome maintenance are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / enzymology
  • Archaea / genetics
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / physiology*
  • Mutagenesis*
  • SOS Response, Genetics*


  • DNA
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase