Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2004) 6: 137-144.

Stability and Repair of DNA in Hyperthermophilic Archaea

Dennis W. Grogan

Evolutionary and physiological considerations argue that study of hyperthermophilic archaea should reveal new molecular aspects of DNA stabilization and repair. So far, these unusual prokaryotes have yielded a number of genes and enzymatic activities consistent with known mechanisms of excision repair, photo-reversal, and trans-lesion synthesis. However, other DNA enzymes of hyperthermophilic archaea show novel biochemical properties which may be related to DNA stability or repair at extremely high temperature but which remain difficult to evaluate rigorously in vivo. Perhaps the most striking feature of the hyperthermophilic archaea is that all of them whose genomes have been sequenced lack key genes of both the nucleotide excision repair and DNA mismatch repair pathways, which are otherwise highly conserved in biology. Although the growth properties of these micro-organisms hinder experimentation, there is evidence that some systems of excision repair and mutation avoidance operate in Sulfolobus spp. It will therefore be of strategic significance in the next few years to formulate and test hypotheses in Sulfolobus spp. and other hyperthermophilic archaea regarding mechanisms and gene products involved in the repair of UV photoproducts and DNA mismatches.

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