We developed an insertion sequence transposition detection system called the “jumping cat assay” and applied it to the Bacillus subtilis chromosome using IS256Bsu1 derived from B. subtilis natto. The high frequency of transposition enabled us to explore host factors; combining the assay and genetic analyses revealed that recA is essential for the transposition of IS256Bsu1. Detailed analyses using various domain mutants of recA demonstrated that this essentiality is not related to the function of recA in homologous recombination. Instead, the ATP binding and hydrolysis function seemed to be crucial for IS transposition. To elucidate the role of recA, we focused on the muB gene of the enterobacteriophage Mu. Based on information from the NCBI Conserved Domain Database, both MuB and RecA belong to the P-loop dNTPase superfamily. Further experiments revealed that muB complements the transposition-defective phenotype of a recA deletant, although it could not rescue UV sensitivity. These results suggest that recA shares a common function with muB that helps the transposition of IS256Bsu1 in B. subtilis.
We have been studying the genetic events, including chromosome loss, chromosome rearrangements and intragenic point mutations, that are responsible for the deletion of a URA3 marker in a loss of heterozygosity (LOH) assay in the yeast Saccharomycess cerevisiae. With this assay, we previously showed that homologous recombination plays an important role in genome maintenance in response to DNA lesions that occur spontaneously in normally growing cells. Here, to investigate DNA lesions capable of triggering homologous recombination, we examined the effects of oxidative stress, a prominent cause of endogenous DNA damage, on LOH events. Treatment of log-phase cells with H2O2 first caused growth arrest and then, during the subsequent recovery, chromosome loss and various chromosome rearrangements were induced more than 10-fold. Further analysis of the rearrangements showed that gene conversion was strongly induced, approximately 100 times more frequently than in untreated cells. Consistent with these results, two diploid strains deficient for homologous recombination, rad52Δ/rad52Δ and rad51Δ/rad51Δ, were sensitive to H2O2 treatment. In addition, chromosome DNA breaks were detected in H2O2-treated cells using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Altogether, these results suggest that oxidative stress induced recombinogenic lesions on chromosomes, which then triggered homologous recombination leading to chromosome rearrangements, and that this response contributed to the survival of cells afflicted by oxidative DNA damage. We therefore conclude that homologous recombination is required for the recovery of cells from oxidative stress.
The Min system, which inhibits assembly of the cytokinetic protein FtsZ, is largely responsible for positioning the division site in rod-shaped bacteria. It has been reported that MinJ, which bridges DivIVA and MinD, is targeted to the cell poles by an interaction with DivIVA, and that MinJ in turn recruits MinCD to the cell poles. MinC, however, is located primarily at active division sites at mid-cell when expressed from its native promoter. Surprisingly, we found that Bacillus subtilis MinD is located at nascent septal membranes and at an asymmetric site on lateral membranes between nascent septal membranes in filamentous cells lacking MinJ or DivIVA. Bacillus subtilis MinD has two amphipathic α-helices rich in basic amino acid residues at its C-terminus; one of these, named MTS1 here, is the counterpart of the membrane targeting sequence (MTS) in Escherichia coli MinD while the other, named MTS-like sequence (MTSL), is the nearest helix to MTS1. These amphipathic helices were located independently at nascent septal membranes in cells lacking MinJ or DivIVA, whereas elimination of the helices from the wild type protein reduced its localization considerably. MinD variants with altered MTS1 and MTSL, in which basic amino acid residues were replaced with proline or acidic residues, were not located at nascent septal membranes, indicating that the binding to the nascent septal membranes requires basic residues and a helical structure. The septal localization of MTSL, but not of MTS1, was dependent on host cell MinD. These results suggest that MinD is targeted to nascent septal membranes via its C-terminal amphipathic α-helices in B. subtilis cells lacking MinJ or DivIVA. Moreover, the diffuse distribution of MinD lacking both MTSs suggests that only a small fraction of MinD depends on MinJ for its localization to nascent septal membranes.
We developed microsatellite markers to compare the genetic variation and reproductive biology between the partially mycoheterotrophic Pyrola japonica var. japonica and the putative fully mycoheterotrophic P. japonica var. subaphylla. Fifteen primer pairs were developed for P. japonica sensu lato and they were tested on 77 ramets from three populations of the two varieties. Thirteen loci were polymorphic in at least one of the two var. japonica populations, whereas only four loci were polymorphic in the var. subaphylla population. The considerably lower genetic variation of the var. subaphylla population may be attributed to frequent selfing and/or inbreeding. The markers developed in this study will be useful for comparing the genetic diversity of P. japonica s. l. populations and measuring gene flow within and between populations and varieties.