Uracil incorporation: a source of pulse-labeled DNA fragments in the replication of the Escherichia coli chromosome.


Uracil is incorporated into newly synthesized DNA by mutants of ...
Uracil is incorporated into newly synthesized DNA by mutants of Escherichia coli with reduced levels of dUTPase (dUTP nucleotidohydrolase; EC Excision-repair of the incorporated uracil results in the generation of labeled DNA fragments that appear after brief pulses with [(3)H]thymidine [Tye, B-K., Nyman, P.-D., Lehman, I. R., Hochhauser, S. & Weiss, B. (1977) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 74, 154-157]. Uracil is also incorporated into the newly synthesized DNA of strains of E. coli that contain normal levels of dUTPase. DNA fragments generated by the postreplication excision-repair of uracil may therefore contribute to the pool of nascent DNA (Okazaki) fragments that normally appear in wild-type strains. Discontinuous DNA replication has been examined in the absence of uracil excision by comparing Okazaki fragments in strains that are defective in DNA polymerase I (polA(-)) and polA(-) strains that are also defective in uracil N-glycosidase, an enzyme required for the excision-repair of uracil in DNA (polA(-)ung(-)). Little or no difference was detected in the level of Okazaki fragments in the polA(-) strain as compared with the polA(-)ung(-) strain. Thus, the uracil-induced cleavage of DNA cannot be the sole mechanism for the generation of Okazaki fragments. Mutants that are defective both in dUTPase and in uracil N-glycosidase incorporate uracil into their DNA with a high frequency (up to 1 per 100 nucleotides). These uracil residues, once incorporated, persist in the DNA without an adverse affect on the growth of the cells.




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