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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2 (2002), Issue 2, Pages 66-74
Review article

Answering the Call: Coping with DNA Damage at the Most Inopportune Time

1Biology Department, Mercer University, 1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, PO Box GY, Mississippi State MS 39762, USA

Received 25 January 2002; Accepted 20 February 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


DNA damage incurred during the process of chromosomal replication has a particularly high possibility of resulting in mutagenesis or lethality for the cell. The SOS response of Escherichia coli appears to be well adapted for this particular situation and involves the coordinated up-regulation of genes whose products center upon the tasks of maintaining the integrity of the replication fork when it encounters DNA damage, delaying the replication process (a DNA damage checkpoint), repairing the DNA lesions or allowing replication to occur over these DNA lesions, and then restoring processive replication before the SOS response itself is turned off. Recent advances in the fields of genomics and biochemistry has given a much more comprehensive picture of the timing and coordination of events which allow cells to deal with potentially lethal or mutagenic DNA lesions at the time of chromosomal replication.