DNA damage responses in prokaryotes: regulating gene expression, modulating growth patterns, and manipulating replication forks.
Recent advances in the area of bacterial DNA damage responses are reviewed here. The SOS pathway is still the major paradigm of bacterial DNA damage response, and recent studies have clarified the mechanisms of SOS induction and key physiological roles of SOS including a very major role in genetic exchange and variation. When considering diverse bacteria, it is clear that SOS is not a uniform pathway with one purpose, but rather a platform that has evolved for differing functions in different bacteria. Relating in part to the SOS response, the field has uncovered multiple apparent cell-cycle checkpoints that assist cell survival after DNA damage and remarkable pathways that induce programmed cell death in bacteria. Bacterial DNA damage responses are also much broader than SOS, and several important examples of LexA-independent regulation will be reviewed. Finally, some recent advances that relate to the replication and repair of damaged DNA will be summarized.
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