It is assumed that intracellular pathogenic bacteria have to cope with DNA alkylating stress within host cells. Here we use single-cell reporter systems to show that the pathogen Brucella abortus does encounter alkylating stress during the first hours of macrophage infection. Genes encoding direct repair and base-excision repair pathways are required by B. abortus to face this stress in vitro and in a mouse infection model. Among these genes, ogt is found to be under the control of the conserved cell-cycle transcription factor GcrA. Our results highlight that the control of DNA repair in B. abortus displays distinct features that are not present in model organisms such as Escherichia coli.