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A mutation in Escherichia coli enhancing the UV-mutability of phage λ but not of its infectious DNA in a spheroplast assay

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A mutant (called mul) has been isolated from E. coli AB1157 which increases up to 13 fold the rate of clear plaque mutations of extracellularly UV-irradiated phage λ. The mul-mutation does not affect the UV-mutability of T4rII mutants or various bacterial markers and therefore seems to act specifically on UV-irradiated phage λ. However, when spheroplasts prepared from mul cells were infected with either irradiated or unirradiated λ-DNA equal frequencies of clear plaques were produced. As there is indirect evidence (host cell reactivation) that the spheroplasts do not significantly exclude irradiated phage DNA it seems that the mul phenotype can be expressed only in complete cells.

The mutation responsible for the mul phenotype has been mapped by conjugation and transduction to be located between the markers pyrE and ilv and probably marks a new gene. The mul mutation does not increase the UV-sensitivity of the cells nor does it affect their ability to perform host cell reactivation. The presence of a recA allel in a mul mutant abolishes the UV-mutability of phage λ.

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Part of this work is from the thesis of the first author in partial fullfilment of the requirements for the doctoral degree of the University of Bochum. Some of the results have already been presented at the “32. Kongreß für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie” at Münster, 1969.

Communicated by G. Bertani

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Wackernagel, W., Winkler, U. A mutation in Escherichia coli enhancing the UV-mutability of phage λ but not of its infectious DNA in a spheroplast assay. Molec. Gen. Genet. 114, 68–79 (1972).

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  • Host Cell
  • Indirect Evidence
  • Cell Reactivation
  • Equal Frequency
  • Complete Cell