UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Antibiotics, Antineoplastic; Bacterial Proteins; Bleomycin; Culture Media; DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded; DNA Ligases; DNA Restriction Enzymes; DNA, Bacterial; DNA-(Apurinic or Apyrimidinic Site) Lyase; Drug Resistance, Bacterial; Escherichia coli K12; Escherichia coli Proteins; Genes, Bacterial; Mutation; Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis; RNA, Bacterial; Recombinational DNA Repair; SOS Response (Genetics)


Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Bleomycin (BLM) is a glycopeptide antibiotic and anti-tumor agent that targets primarily the furanose rings of DNA and in the presence of ferrous ions produces oxidative damage and DNA strand breaks. Escherichia coli cells growing in broth medium and exposed to low concentrations of BLM contain double-strand breaks and require homologous recombination to survive. To a lesser extent, the cells also require the abasic (AP) endonucleases associated with base excision repair, presumably to repair oxidative damage. As expected, there is strong induction of the SOS system in treated cells. In contrast, E. coli cells growing in glucose or glycerol minimal medium are resistant to the lethal action of BLM and do not require either homologous recombination functions or AP-endonucleases for survival. DNA ligase activity, however, is needed for cells growing in minimal medium to resist the lethal effects of BLM. There is weak SOS induction in such treated cells.

Rights and Permissions

Copyright: © 2012 Xu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



Xu T, Brown W, Marinus MG (2012) Bleomycin Sensitivity in Escherichia coli is Medium-Dependent. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33256. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033256. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PloS one

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID