The genetic requirements for umuDC-mediated cold sensitivity are distinct from those for SOS mutagenesis

Timothy Opperman, Sumati Murli, Graham C. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The umuDC operon of Escherichia coli, a member of the SOS regulon, is required for SOS mutagenesis. Following the posttranslational processing of UmuD to UmuD' by RecA-mediated cleavage, UmuD' acts in concert with UmuC, RecA, and DNA polymerase III to facilitate the process of translesion synthesis, which results in the introduction of mutations. Constitutive expression of the umuDC operon causes an inhibition of growth at 30°C (cold sensitivity). The umuDC-dependent physiological phenomenon manifested as cold-sensitive growth is shown to differ from SOS mutagenesis in two respects. Intact UmuD, the form inactive in SOS mutagenesis, confers a significantly higher degree of cold sensitivity in combination with UmuC than does UmuD'. In addition, umuDC- mediated cold sensitivity, unlike SOS mutagenesis, does not require recA function. Since the RecA protein mediates the autodigestion of UmuD to UmuD', this finding supports the conclusion that intact UmuD is capable of conferring cold sensitivity in the presence of UmuC. The degree of inhibition of growth at 30°C correlates with the levels of UmuD and UmuC, which are the only two SOS-regulated proteins required to observe cold sensitivity. Analysis of the cellular morphology of strains that exhibit cold sensitivity for growth led to the finding that constitutive expression of the umuDC operon causes a novel form of sulA- and sfiC-independent filamentation at 30°C. This filamentation is observed in a strain constitutively expressing the single, chromosomal copy of umuDC and can be suppressed by overexpression of the ftsQAZ operon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4400-4411
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this