Lessons from 50 years of SOS DNA-damage-induced mutagenesis

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Jul;8(7):587-94. doi: 10.1038/nrm2198.


This historical perspective integrates 50 years of research on SOS mutagenesis in Escherichia coli with the proverbial '3R' functions--replication, repair and recombination--that feature DNA polymerase V. Genetic and biochemical data are assimilated to arrive at a current picture of UV-damage-induced mutagenesis. An unprecedented DNA polymerase V transactivation mechanism, which involves the RecA protein, sheds new light on unresolved issues that have persisted over time, prompting us to reflect on evolving molecular concepts regarding DNA structures and polymerase-switching mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Rec A Recombinases / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • SOS Response, Genetics*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Rec A Recombinases
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase