This historical perspective integrates 50 years of research on SOS mutagenesis in Escherichia coli with the proverbial '3R' functions—replication, repair and recombination—that feature DNA polymerase V. Genetic and biochemical data are assimilated to arrive at a current picture of UV-damage-induced mutagenesis. An unprecedented DNA polymerase V transactivation mechanism, which involves the RecA protein, sheds new light on unresolved issues that have persisted over time, prompting us to reflect on evolving molecular concepts regarding DNA structures and polymerase-switching mechanisms.
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The authors' work on SOS mutagenesis carried out from 1988 onwards is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. We are indebted to the many contributors to the SOS field and would like to single out a few of the 'old timers': E. Witkin, M. Radman, G. Walker and R. Devoret, with a special heartfelt thanks to H. Echols. E. Witkin kindly provided reminiscences of how SOS began and evolved. We thank J. Petruska for comments on the manuscript. We especially thank students and colleagues I. Bruck, M. Tang, X. Shen, P. Pham, M. Cox and R. Woodgate, who devoted much effort and creative thinking to these studies.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Schlacher, K., Goodman, M. Lessons from 50 years of SOS DNA-damage-induced mutagenesis. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 8, 587–594 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm2198
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