Escherichia coli DNA ligase B may mitigate damage from oxidative stress

PLoS One. 2017 Jul 11;12(7):e0180800. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180800. eCollection 2017.


Escherichia coli encodes two DNA ligases, ligase A, which is essential under normal laboratory growth conditions, and ligase B, which is not. Here we report potential functions of ligase B. We found that across the entire Enterobacteriaceae family, ligase B is highly conserved in both amino acid identity and synteny with genes associated with oxidative stress. Deletion of ligB sensitized E. coli to specific DNA damaging agents and antibiotics resulted in a weak mutator phenotype, and decreased biofilm formation. Overexpression of ligB caused a dramatic extension of lag phase that eventually resumed normal growth. The ligase function of ligase B was not required to mediate the extended lag phase, as overexpression of a ligase-deficient ligB mutant also blocked growth. Overexpression of ligB during logarithmic growth caused an immediate block of cell growth and DNA replication, and death of about half of cells. These data support a potential role for ligase B in the base excision repair pathway or the mismatch repair pathway.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage / genetics
  • DNA Ligases / genetics
  • DNA Ligases / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication / genetics
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • Enterobacteriaceae / genetics
  • Enterobacteriaceae / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • DNA Ligases