Multi-copy single-stranded DNA (msDNA) is composed of covalently bound single-stranded DNA and RNA, and synthesized by retron-encoded reverse transcriptase. msDNA-synthesizing systems are thought to be a recent acquisition by Escherichia coli because, to date, only seven types of msDNA, which differ markedly in their primary nucleotide sequences, have been found in a small subset of E. coli strains. The wide use of E. coli in molecular research means that it is important to understand more about these stable, covalently bound, single-stranded DNA or RNA compounds. The present review provides insights into the molecular biosynthesis, distribution and function of E. coli msDNA to raise awareness about these special molecules.
The genomic integrity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is continuously threatened by the harsh survival conditions inside host macrophages, due to immune and antibiotic stresses. Faithful genome maintenance and repair must be accomplished under stress for the bacillus to survive in the host, necessitating a robust DNA repair system. The importance of DNA repair systems in pathogenesis is well established. Previous examination of the M. tuberculosis genome revealed homologues of almost all the major DNA repair systems, i.e. nucleotide excision repair (NER), base excision repair (BER), homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). However, recent developments in the field have pointed to the presence of novel proteins and pathways in mycobacteria. Homologues of archeal mismatch repair proteins were recently reported in mycobacteria, a pathway previously thought to be absent. RecBCD, the major nuclease-helicase enzymes involved in HR in E. coli, were implicated in the single-strand annealing (SSA) pathway. Novel roles of archeo-eukaryotic primase (AEP) polymerases, previously thought to be exclusive to NHEJ, have been reported in BER. Many new proteins with a probable role in DNA repair have also been discovered. It is now realized that the DNA repair systems in M. tuberculosis are highly evolved and have redundant backup mechanisms to mend the damage. This review is an attempt to summarize our current understanding of the DNA repair systems in M. tuberculosis.
The spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is the causative agent of Lyme disease, the most common vector-borne disease in Europe and the United States. The spirochetes can be transmitted to humans via ticks, and then spread to different tissues, leading to arthritis, carditis and neuroborreliosis. Although antibiotics have commonly been used to treat infected individuals, some treated patients do not respond to antibiotics and experience persistent, long-term arthritis. Thus, there is a need to investigate alternative therapeutics against Lyme disease. The spirochete bacterium colonization is partly attributed to the binding of the bacterial outer-surface proteins to the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains of host proteoglycans. Blocking the binding of these proteins to GAGs is a potential strategy to prevent infection. In this review, we have summarized the recent reports of B. burgdorferi sensu lato GAG-binding proteins and discussed the potential use of synthetic and semi-synthetic compounds, including GAG analogues, to block pathogen interaction with GAGs. Such information should motivate the discovery and development of novel GAG analogues as new therapeutics for Lyme disease. New therapeutic approaches should eventually reduce the burden of Lyme disease and improve human health.