The transcription-repair coupling factor Mfd associates with RNA polymerase in the absence of exogenous damage

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2018-04-20

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03790-z

Affiliations: 2

Authors: 3

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Research Highlight

More than just a fidelity factor



A bacterial protein long thought of only as a safeguard against DNA damage also serves a more general housekeeping function during normal growth, researchers from the University of Wollongong have found.

Single-molecule imaging of live bacterial cells revealed that the protein Mfd clusters near genetic material even when no gene defects are present. That hinted at a hitherto unappreciated role for the protein.

The Wollongong team then used a combination of drugs and mutant bacterial strains to show that Mfd, in addition to coupling DNA repair with gene expression, helps to advance the enzyme responsible for converting DNA to RNA whenever it stalls during the course of its normal activity.

Based on the group’s discovery of Mfd’s dual role in regulating both the repair of damaged DNA and typical gene expression profiles, other scientists have proposed targeting the protein to block the evolution of antibiotic resistance.

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  1. Nature Communications 9, 1570 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03790-z
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University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia 1