Heteroexpression of Mycobacterium leprae hypothetical protein ML0190 provides protection against DNA-alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate.
Repair of DNA alkylation damage is essential for maintaining genome integrity and Fe(II)/2-oxoglutarate(2OG)-dependent dioxygenase family of enzymes play crucial role in repairing some of the alkylation damages. Alkylation repair protein-B (AlkB) of Escherichia coli belongs to Fe(II)/2OG-dependent dioxygenase family and carries out DNA dealkylation repair. We report here identification of a hypothetical Mycobacterium leprae protein (accession no. ML0190) from the genomic database and show that this 615-bp open reading frame encodes a protein with sequence and structural similarity to Fe(II)/2OG-dependent dioxygenase AlkB. We identified mRNA transcript of this gene in the M. leprae infected clinical skin biopsy samples isolated from the leprosy patients. Heterologous expression of ML0190 in methyl methane sulfonate (MMS) sensitive and DNA repair deficient strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli resulted in resistance to alkylating agent MM. The results of the present study imply that Mycobacterium leprae ML0190 is involved in protecting the bacterial genome from DNA alkylation damage.