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Mol Cell Biol. 1983 Jul;3(7):1172-81.

Mutation at autosomal loci of Chinese hamster ovary cells: involvement of a high-frequency event silencing two linked alleles.


Two classes of cell lines heterozygous at the galactokinase (glk) locus have been isolated from Chinese hamster ovary cells. Class I, selected by plating nonmutagenized wild-type cells at low density in medium containing 2-deoxygalactose at a partially selective concentration, underwent subsequent mutation to the glk-/- genotype at a low frequency (approximately 10(-6) per cell), which was increased by mutagenesis. Class II heterozygotes, isolated by sib selection from mutagenized wild-type cells, had a higher spontaneous frequency of mutation to the homozygous state (approximately 10(-4) per cell), which was not affected by mutagenesis. About half of the glk-/- mutants derived from a class II heterozygote, but not the heterozygote itself, were functionally hemizygous at the syntenic thymidine kinase (tk) locus. Similarly, a tk+/- heterozygote with characteristics analogous to the class II glk+/- cell lines underwent high-frequency mutation to tk-/-, and most of these mutants, but not the tk+/- heterozygote, were functionally hemizygous at the glk locus. A model is proposed, similar to that for the mutational events at the adenine phosphoribosyl transferase locus (W. E. C. Bradley and D. Letovanec, Somatic Cell Genet. 8:51-66, 1982), of two different events, high and low frequency, being responsible for mutation at either of the linked loci tk and glk. The low-frequency event may be a point mutation, but the high-frequency event, in many instances, involves coordinated inactivation of a portion of a chromosome carrying the two linked alleles. Class II heterozygotes would be generated as a result of a low-frequency event at one allele, and class I heterozygotes would be generated by a high-frequency event. Supporting this model was the demonstration that all class I glk+/- lines examined were functionally hemizygous at tk.

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