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J Mol Biol. 1991 Jul 20;220(2):335-49.

A severely truncated form of translational initiation factor 2 supports growth of Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, URA 1139, Paris, France.


We have constructed strains carrying null mutations in the chromosomal copy of the gene for translational initiation factor (IF) 2 (infB). A functional copy of the infB gene is supplied in trans by a thermosensitive lysogenic lambda phage integrated at att lambda. These strains enabled us to test in vivo the importance of different structural elements of IF2 expressed from genetically engineered plasmid constructs. We found that, as expected, the gene for IF2 is essential. However, a protein consisting of the C-terminal 55,000 Mr fragment of the wild-type IF2 protein is sufficient to allow growth when supplied in excess. This result suggests that the catalytic properties are localized in the C-terminal half of the protein, which includes the G-domain, and that this fragment is sufficient to complement the IF2 deficiency in the infB deletion strain.

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