Point mutations in topoisomerase i alter the mutation spectrum in E. coli and impact the emergence of drug resistance genotypes

Amit Bachar, Elad Itzhaki, Shmuel Gleizer, Melina Shamshoom, Ron Milo, Niv Antonovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identifying the molecular mechanisms that give rise to genetic variation is essential for the understanding of evolutionary processes. Previously, we have used adaptive laboratory evolution to enable biomass synthesis from CO2 in Escherichia coli. Genetic analysis of adapted clones from two independently evolving populations revealed distinct enrichment for insertion and deletion mutational events. Here, we follow these observations to show that mutations in the gene encoding for DNA topoisomerase I (topA) give rise to mutator phenotypes with characteristic mutational spectra. Using genetic assays and mutation accumulation lines, we find that point mutations in topA increase the rate of sequence deletion and duplication events. Interestingly, we observe that a single residue substitution (R168C) results in a high rate of head-To-Tail (tandem) short sequence duplications, which are independent of existing sequence repeats. Finally, we show that the unique mutation spectrum of topA mutants enhances the emergence of antibiotic resistance in comparison to mismatch-repair (mutS) mutators, and leads to new resistance genotypes. Our findings highlight a potential link between the catalytic activity of topoisomerases and the fundamental question regarding the emergence of de novo tandem repeats, which are known modulators of bacterial evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-769
Number of pages9
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

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