Redox controls RecA protein activity via reversible oxidation of its methionine residues

Elife. 2021 Feb 19;10:e63747. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63747. Online ahead of print.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause damage to DNA and proteins. Here we report that the RecA recombinase is itself oxidized by ROS. Genetic and biochemical analyses revealed that oxidation of RecA altered its DNA repair and DNA recombination activities. Mass spectrometry analysis showed that exposure to ROS converted 4 out of 9 Met residues of RecA to methionine sulfoxide. Mimicking oxidation of Met35 by changing it for Gln caused complete loss of function whereas mimicking oxidation of Met164 resulted in constitutive SOS activation and loss of recombination activity. Yet, all ROS-induced alterations of RecA activity were suppressed by methionine sulfoxide reductases MsrA and MsrB. These findings indicate that under oxidative stress, MsrA/B is needed for RecA homeostasis control. The implication is that, besides damaging DNA structure directly, ROS prevent repair of DNA damage by hampering RecA activity.

Keywords: E. coli; infectious disease; microbiology.

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.zpc866t78