Single-molecule live-cell imaging of bacterial DNA repair and damage tolerance
Genomic DNA is constantly under threat from intracellular and environmental factors that damage its chemical structure. Uncorrected DNA damage may impede cellular propagation or even result in cell death, making it critical to restore genomic integrity. Decades of research have revealed a wide range of mechanisms through which repair factors recognize damage and co-ordinate repair processes. In recent years, single-molecule live-cell imaging methods have further enriched our understanding of how repair factors operate in the crowded intracellular environment. The ability to follow individual biochemical events, as they occur in live cells, makes single-molecule techniques tremendously powerful to uncover the spatial organization and temporal regulation of repair factors during DNA-repair reactions. In this review, we will cover practical aspects of single-molecule live-cell imaging and highlight recent advances accomplished by the application of these experimental approaches to the study of DNA-repair processes in prokaryotes.