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6 p.

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National Academy of Sciences

Source Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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Original Item ID

doi: 10.1073/pnas.1303376110


The remarkable ability of bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans to survive extreme doses of γ-rays (12,000 Gy), 20 times greater than Escherichia coli, is undiminished by loss of Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase (SodA). D. radiodurans radiation resistance is attributed to the accumulation of low-molecular-weight (LMW) “antioxidant” Mn2+–metabolite complexes that protect essential enzymes from oxidative damage. However, in vivo information about such complexes within D. radiodurans cells is lacking, and the idea that they can supplant reactive-oxygen-species (ROS)–scavenging enzymes remains controversial. In this report, measurements by advanced paramagnetic resonance techniques [electron-spin-echo (ESE)-EPR/electron nuclear double resonance/ESE envelope modulation (ESEEM)] reveal differential details of the in vivo Mn2+ speciation in D. radiodurans and E. coli cells and their responses to 10 kGy γ-irradiation. The Mn2+ of D. radiodurans exists predominantly as LMW complexes with nitrogenous metabolites and orthophosphate, with negligible EPR signal from Mn2+ of SodA. Thus, the extreme radiation resistance of D. radiodurans cells cannot be attributed to SodA. Correspondingly, 10 kGy irradiation causes no change in D. radiodurans Mn2+ speciation, despite the paucity of holo-SodA. In contrast, the EPR signal of E. coli is dominated by signals from low-symmetry enzyme sites such as that of SodA, with a minority pool of LMW Mn2+ complexes that show negligible coordination by nitrogenous metabolites. Nonetheless, irradiation of E. coli majorly changes LMW Mn2+ speciation, with extensive binding of nitrogenous ligands created by irradiation. We infer that E. coli is highly susceptible to radiation-induced ROS because it lacks an adequate supply of LMW Mn antioxidants.


Accepted version. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, No. 15 (April 9, 2013): 5945-5950. DOI. © 2013 National Academy of Sciences. Used with permission.

Brian Bennett was affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin at the time of publication.

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