All organisms rely on integrated networks to repair DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in order to preserve the integrity of the genetic information, to re-establish replication, and to ensure proper chromosomal segregation. Genetic, cytological, biochemical and structural approaches have been used to analyze how Bacillus subtilis senses DNA damage and responds to DSBs. RecN, which is among the first responders to DNA DSBs, promotes the ordered recruitment of repair proteins to the site of a lesion. Cells have evolved different mechanisms for efficient end processing to create a 3'-tailed duplex DNA, the substrate for RecA binding, in the repair of one- and two-ended DSBs. Strand continuity is re-established via homologous recombination (HR), utilizing an intact homologous DNA molecule as a template. In the absence of transient diploidy or of HR, however, two-ended DSBs can be directly re-ligated via error-prone non-homologous end-joining. Here we review recent findings that shed light on the early stages of DSB repair in Firmicutes.

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D N A Repair

Alonso, J., Cardenas, P., Sanchez, H., Hejna, J., Suzuki, Y., & Takeyasu, K. (2013). Early steps of double-strand break repair in Bacillus subtilis. D N A Repair (Vol. 12, pp. 162–176). doi:10.1016/j.dnarep.2012.12.005