R-loop induced stress response by second (p)ppGpp synthetase in Mycobacterium smegmatis: Functional and domain interdependence.

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Persistent R-loops lead to replicative stress due to RNA polymerase stalling and DNA damage. RNase H enzymes facilitate the organisms to survive in the hostile condition by removing these R-loops. MS_RHII-RSD was previously identified to be the second (p)ppGpp synthetase in Mycobacterium smegmatis. The unique presence of an additional RNase HII domain raises an important question regarding the significance of this bifunctional protein. In this report, we demonstrate its ability to hydrolyze R-loops in E. coli exposed to UV stress. MS_RHII-RSD gene expression was upregulated under UV stress and this gene deleted strain showed increased R-loop accumulation as compared to the wild type. The domains in isolation are known to be inactive and the full length protein is required for its function. Domain inter-dependence studies using active site mutants reveal the necessity of a hexamer form with high alpha helical content. In previous studies, bacterial RNase type HI has been mainly implicated in R-loop hydrolysis, but in this study the RNase HII domain containing protein showed the activity. The prospective of this differential RNase HII activity is discussed. This is the first report to implicate a (p)ppGpp synthetase protein in R-loop induced stress response. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Early online date28 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2016


  • Replication stress
  • RNase H
  • bifunctional protein
  • RNA polymerase
  • R-loop


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