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EMBO J. 1992 Apr;11(4):1317-26.

Induction of DNA amplification in the Bacillus subtilis chromosome.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Génétique Microbienne, INRA, Jouy en Josas, France.


A system allowing the induction of DNA amplification in Bacillus subtilis was developed, based on a thermosensitive plasmid, pE194, stably integrated in the bacterial chromosome. An amplification unit, comprising an antibiotic resistance marker flanked by directly repeated sequences, was placed next to the integrated plasmid. Activation of pE194 replication led to DNA amplification. Two different amplification processes appeared to take place: one increased the copy number of all sequences in the vicinity of the integrated plasmid and was possibly of the onion skin type, while the other increased the copy number of the amplification unit only and generated long arrays of amplification units. These arrays were purified and shown to consist mainly of directly repeated amplification units but to also contain non-linear regions, such as replication forks and recombination intermediates. They were attached to the chromosome at one end only, and were, in general, not stably inherited, which suggests that they are early amplification intermediates. Longer arrays were detected before the shorter ones during amplification. When the parental amplification unit contained repeats which differed by a restriction site the arrays which derived thereof contained in a majority of cases only a single type of repeat. We propose that the amplified DNA is generated by rolling circle replication, and that such a process might underlie a number of amplification events.

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