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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 947680, 12 pages
Review Article

The Roles of UmuD in Regulating Mutagenesis

1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, 102 Hurtig Hall, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Complex Systems, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, 102 Hurtig Hall, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 13 June 2010; Accepted 1 August 2010

Academic Editor: Ashis Basu

Copyright © 2010 Jaylene N. Ollivierre et al. 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.


All organisms are subject to DNA damage from both endogenous and environmental sources. DNA damage that is not fully repaired can lead to mutations. Mutagenesis is now understood to be an active process, in part facilitated by lower-fidelity DNA polymerases that replicate DNA in an error-prone manner. Y-family DNA polymerases, found throughout all domains of life, are characterized by their lower fidelity on undamaged DNA and their specialized ability to copy damaged DNA. Two E. coli Y-family DNA polymerases are responsible for copying damaged DNA as well as for mutagenesis. These DNA polymerases interact with different forms of UmuD, a dynamic protein that regulates mutagenesis. The UmuD gene products, regulated by the SOS response, exist in two principal forms: , which prevents mutagenesis, and , which facilitates UV-induced mutagenesis. This paper focuses on the multiple conformations of the UmuD gene products and how their protein interactions regulate mutagenesis.