• Chitra Dutta

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Methyl directed DNA mismatch repair inVibrio cholerae

      Rupa Bandyopadhyay Aditya Sengupta Tapan K Bera Kishor K Bhakat Chitra Dutta Jyotirmoy Das

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      Mismatches in DNA occur either due to replication error or during recombination between homologous but non-identical DNA sequences or due to chemical modification of bases. The mismatch in DNA, if not repaired, result in high spontaneous mutation frequency. The repair has to be in the newly synthesized strand of the DNA molecule, otherwise the error will be fixed permanently. Three distinct mechanisms have been proposed for the repair of mismatches in DNA in prokaryotic cells and gene functions involved in these repair processes have been identified. The methyl-directed DNA mismatch repair has been examined inVibrio cholerae, a highly pathogenic gram negative bacterium and the causative agent of the diarrhoeal disease cholera. The DNA adenine methyltransferase encoding gene (dam) of this organism which is involved in strand discrimination during the repair process has been cloned and the complete nucleotide sequence has been determined.Vibrio cholerae dam gene codes for a 21.5 kDa protein and can substitute for theEscherichia coli enzyme. Overproduction ofVibrio cholerae Dam protein is neither hypermutable nor lethal both in Escherichia coli andVibrio cholerae. WhileEscherichia coli dam mutants are sensitive to 2-aminopurine,Vibrio cholerae 2-aminopurine sensitive mutants have been isolated with intact GATC methylation activity. The mutator genesmutS andmutL involved in the recognition of mismatch have been cloned, nucleotide sequence determined and their products characterized. Mutants ofmutS andmutL ofVibrio cholerae have been isolated and show high rate of spontaneous mutation frequency. ThemutU gene ofVibrio cholerae, the product of which is a DNA helicase II, codes for a 70 kDa protein. The deduced amino acid sequence of themutU gene hs all the consensus helicase motifs. The DNA cytosine methyltransferase encoding gene (dam) ofVibrio cholerae has also been cloned. Thedcm gene codes for a 53 kDa protein. This gene product might be involved in very short patch (VSP) repair of DNA mismatches. The vsr gene which is directly involved in VSP repair process codes for a 23 kDa protein. Using these information, the status of DNA mismatch repair inVibrio cholerae will be discussed.

    • Horizontal gene transfer and bacterial diversity

      Chitra Dutta Archana Pan

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      Bacterial genomes are extremely dynamic and mosaic in nature. A substantial amount of genetic information is inserted into or deleted from such genomes through the process of horizontal transfer. Through the introduction of novel physiological traits from distantly related organisms, horizontal gene transfer often causes drastic changes in the ecological and pathogenic character of bacterial species and thereby promotes microbial diversification and speciation. This review discusses how the recent influx of complete chromosomal sequences of various microorganisms has allowed for a quantitative assessment of the scope, rate and impact of horizontally transmitted information on microbial evolution.

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