Transcriptional repressor, LexA, regulates the “SOS” response, an indispensable bacterial DNA damage repair machinery.  Compared to its E.coli ortholog, LexA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) possesses a unique N-terminal extension of additional 24 amino acids in its DNA binding domain (DBD) and 18 amino acids insertion at its hinge region that connects the DBD to the C-terminal dimerization/autoproteolysis domain. Despite the importance of LexA in “SOS” regulation, Mtb LexA remains poorly characterized and the functional importance of its additional amino acids remained elusive. In addition, the lack of data on kinetic parameters of Mtb LexA-DNA interaction prompted us to perform kinetic analyses of Mtb LexA and its deletion variants using Bio-layer Interferometry (BLI). Mtb LexA is seen to bind to different “SOS” boxes, DNA sequences present in the operator regions of damage-inducible genes, with comparable nanomolar affinity. Deletion of 18 amino acids from the linker region is found to affect DNA binding unlike the deletion of the N-terminal stretch of extra 24 amino acids. The conserved RKG motif has been found to be critical for DNA binding. Overall, this study provides insights into the kinetics of the interaction between Mtb LexA and its target “SOS” boxes. The kinetic parameters obtained for DNA binding of Mtb LexA would be instrumental to clearly understand the mechanism of “SOS” regulation and activation in Mtb.

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