Stationary-phase mutation in the bacterial chromosome: recombination protein and DNA polymerase IV dependence.


Several microbial systems have been shown to yield advantageous ...
Several microbial systems have been shown to yield advantageous mutations in slowly growing or nongrowing cultures. In one assay system, the stationary-phase mutation mechanism differs from growth-dependent mutation, demonstrating that the two are different processes. This system assays reversion of a lac frameshift allele on an F' plasmid in Escherichia coli. The stationary-phase mutation mechanism at lac requires recombination proteins of the RecBCD double-strand-break repair system and the inducible error-prone DNA polymerase IV, and the mutations are mostly -1 deletions in small mononucleotide repeats. This mutation mechanism is proposed to occur by DNA polymerase errors made during replication primed by recombinational double-strand-break repair. It has been suggested that this mechanism is confined to the F plasmid. However, the cells that acquire the adaptive mutations show hypermutation of unrelated chromosomal genes, suggesting that chromosomal sites also might experience recombination protein-dependent stationary-phase mutation. Here we test directly whether the stationary-phase mutations in the bacterial chromosome also occur via a recombination protein- and pol IV-dependent mechanism. We describe an assay for chromosomal mutation in cells carrying the F' lac. We show that the chromosomal mutation is recombination protein- and pol IV-dependent and also is associated with general hypermutation. The data indicate that, at least in these male cells, recombination protein-dependent stationary-phase mutation is a mechanism of general inducible genetic change capable of affecting genes in the bacterial chromosome.




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