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EMBO J. Aug 1986; 5(8): 2009–2013.
PMCID: PMC1167071

GATC sequence and mismatch repair in Escherichia coli.


The Escherichia coli mismatch repair system greatly improves DNA replication fidelity by repairing single mispaired and unpaired bases in newly synthesized DNA strands. Transient undermethylation of the GATC sequences makes the newly synthesized strands susceptible to mismatch repair enzymes. The role of unmethylated GATC sequences in mismatch repair was tested in transfection experiments with heteroduplex DNA of phage phi 174 without any GATC sequence or with two GATC sequences, containing in addition either a G:T mismatch (Eam+/Eam3) or a G:A mismatch (Bam+/Bam16). It appears that only DNA containing GATC sequences is subject to efficient mismatch repair dependent on E. coli mutH, mutL, mutS and mutU genes; however, also in the absence of GATC sequence some mut-dependent mismatch repair can be observed. These observations suggest that the mismatch repair enzymes recognize both the mismatch and the unmethylated GATC sequence in DNA over long distances. The presence of GATC sequence(s) in the substrate appears to be required for full mismatch repair activity and not only for its strand specificity according to the GATC methylation state.

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Selected References

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