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Induction of lambda prophage and of mutations to streptomycin resistance in separate small fractions of a lysogenic derivative of Escherichia coli B/r by very low doses of ultraviolet light

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The number of induced mutations to streptomycin resistance is compared at doses of ultraviolet (UV) light between 0.2 and 6.4 J/m2 in a Uvr- (excision-deficient) derivative of E. coli B/r, strain WU, and in its λ lysogen, strain WU(λ). At UV doses up to about 1 J/m2, which converts about 5% of the lysogenic population into infective centers, no difference is observed in the number of mutations to streptomycin resistance produced by the two strains. It is concluded that the capacity to produce UV-induced mutations is not coupled with lysis due to the induction of λ prophage at low doses of UV radiation. At UV doses above 1 J/m2, the number of mutants detected in the lysogenic strain decreases appreciably compared to the number detected in the nonlysogen, and is only about 10% as high at UV doses of 3 J/m2 and higher, doses which cause maximal induction of prophage. The results are compatible with the operation of a common “all-or-none” induction signal resulting in expression of UV-inducible functions at high UV doses, but not at low doses.

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Correspondence to Evelyn M. Witkin.

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Communicated by B.A. Bridges

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Witkin, E.M., Wermundsen, I.E. Induction of lambda prophage and of mutations to streptomycin resistance in separate small fractions of a lysogenic derivative of Escherichia coli B/r by very low doses of ultraviolet light. Molec. Gen. Genet. 156, 35–39 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00272249

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  • Radiation
  • Streptomycin
  • Ultraviolet Light
  • Induction Signal
  • Maximal Induction