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Mol Cell. 2001 Mar;7(3):571-9.

SOS mutator DNA polymerase IV functions in adaptive mutation and not adaptive amplification.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030-3411, USA.

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  • Mol Cell 2001 May;7(5):1119.


Adaptive point mutation and amplification are induced responses to environmental stress, promoting genetic changes that can enhance survival. A specialized adaptive mutation mechanism has been documented in one Escherichia coli assay, but its enzymatic basis remained unclear. We report that the SOS-inducible, error-prone DNA polymerase (pol) IV, encoded by dinB, is required for adaptive point mutation in the E. coli lac operon. A nonpolar dinB mutation reduces adaptive mutation frequencies by 85% but does not affect adaptive amplification, growth-dependent mutation, or survival after oxidative or UV damage. We show that pol IV, together with the major replicase, pol III, can account for all adaptive point mutations at lac. The results identify a role for pol IV in inducible genetic change.

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