First Advisor

Justin Courcelle

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors






DNA replication, DNA repair, DNA damage, Hydrogen peroxide, Escherichia coli, DNA -- Effect of ultraviolet radiation on, Mutation (Biology)




Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) toxicity has long been thought to be predominantly due to oxidative DNA damage that can disrupt DNA replication and result in lethality. Curiously and contrary to this view, it is also well established that the glycosylases responsible for repairing oxidized-base damage are as resistant as wild-type cells when treated with H2O2. The observation raises the possibility that H2O2-induced DNA damage does not disrupt or prevent replication. To examine this possibility, I examined the sensitivity of recF mutants to H2O2. RecF is known to be required to maintain and restore replication forks after disruption by DNA damage. Survival curves of mutants treated with either UV irradiation or H2O2 were generated and, as expected, recF mutants were shown to die off quicker after UV exposure, relative to wild-type cells. However, recF mutants were not hypersensitive to H2O2. The results would be consistent with the idea that DNA damage induced by H2O2 does not disrupt DNA replication and may not factor significantly into its lethality.


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