Increased DNA polymerase and ATP-dependent deoxyribonuclease activities following DNA damages in mycobacterium smegmatis

Mol Gen Genet. 1977 Feb 15;150(3):301-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00268129.


Treatment of growing cultures of Mycobacterium smegmatis with alkylating agents (methyl methanesulphonate, ethyl methanesulphonate, nitrogen mustard, or mitomycin C) or with ultraviolet light resulted in enhanced specific activities of a DNA polymerase and of an ATP-dependent deoxyribonuclease. Similar results had previously been obtained with hydroxyurea and with iron limitation. The three of these treatments which were tested (methyl methanesulphonate, mitomycin C and hydroxyurea) produced strand breaks or alkali-labile regions in the DNA of this organism. The increased enzyme activities could be prevented by simultaneous treatment with inhibitors of protein synthesis. In contrast, treatment of the cultures with intercalating agents (ethidium bromide, acridine orange, or proflavine), 5-fluorouracil, caffeine, or nalidixic acid, inhibited DNA synthesis without increasing the enzyme activities. These treatments did not produce strand breaks in the DNA of this organism. The results support the hypothesis that, in M. smegmatis, damage to DNA induces increased synthesis of enzymes associated with DNA repair.

MeSH terms

  • Acridines / pharmacology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Caffeine / pharmacology
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Deoxyribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Ethidium / pharmacology
  • Ethyl Methanesulfonate / pharmacology
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology
  • Mechlorethamine / pharmacology
  • Methyl Methanesulfonate / pharmacology
  • Mitomycins / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Mycobacterium / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium / enzymology*
  • Mycobacterium / radiation effects
  • Nalidixic Acid / pharmacology
  • Proflavine / pharmacology
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Acridines
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Mitomycins
  • Nalidixic Acid
  • Caffeine
  • Mechlorethamine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Ethyl Methanesulfonate
  • Methyl Methanesulfonate
  • Proflavine
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Deoxyribonucleases
  • Ethidium
  • Fluorouracil