Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA repair helicase UvrD1 is activated by redox-dependent dimerization via a 2B domain cysteine

Ankita Chadda, Drake Jensen, Eric J. Tomko, Ana Ruiz Manzano, Binh Nguyen, Timothy M. Lohman, Eric A. Galburt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes tuberculosis and, during infection, is exposed to reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen intermediates from the host immune response that can cause DNA damage. UvrD-like proteins are involved in DNA repair and replication and belong to the SF1 family of DNA helicases that use ATP hydrolysis to catalyze DNA unwinding. In Mtb, there are two UvrD-like enzymes, where UvrD1 is most closely related to other family members. Previous studies have suggested that UvrD1 is exclusively monomeric; however, it is well known that Escherichia coli UvrD and other UvrD family members exhibit monomer–dimer equilibria and unwind as dimers in the absence of accessory factors. Here, we reconcile these incongruent studies by showing that Mtb UvrD1 exists in monomer, dimer, and higher-order oligomeric forms, where dimerization is regulated by redox potential. We identify a 2B domain cysteine, conserved in many Actinobacteria, that underlies this effect. We also show that UvrD1 DNA-unwinding activity correlates specifically with the dimer population and is thus titrated directly via increasing positive (i.e., oxidative) redox potential. Consistent with the regulatory role of the 2B domain and the dimerization-based activation of DNA unwinding in UvrD family helicases, these results suggest that UvrD1 is activated under oxidizing conditions when it may be needed to respond to DNA damage during infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2114501119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 22 2022


  • DNA helicase
  • DNA repair
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Redox potential
  • UvrD


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