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Genetics. 1994 Mar;136(3):747-56.

Endpoint bias in large Tn10-catalyzed inversions in Salmonella typhimurium.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544.


A genetic strategy identified Salmonella typhimurium strains carrying large (> 40 kb) Tn 10-catalyzed inversions; the inverted segments were characterized by XbaI digestion and pulsed field gel electrophoresis. Two size classes of large inversions were found. More than half of the inversions extended 40-80 kb either clockwise or counterclockwise of the original Tn10 site. The remaining inversions extended up to 1620 kb (33% of the genome), but the distal endpoints of these inversions were not randomly scattered throughout the chromosome. Rather, each Tn10 repeatedly yielded similar (though not identical) inversions. The biased endpoint selection may reflect the limited search for target DNA sequences by the Tn10 transposase, and the spatial proximity of the donor and target regions in the folded S. typhimurium nucleoid. Using this interpretation, the data suggest that DNA sequences 40-80 kb clockwise and counterclockwise of the insertion site are in spatial proximity with the insertion, perhaps reflecting the organization of DNA into approximately 120-kb nucleoid domains. In addition, the data predict the spatial proximity of several distant DNA regions, including DNA sequences equidistant from the origin of DNA replication.

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