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EMBO J. 1983;2(1):81-6.

Negative dominance in gene lamB: random assembly of secreted subunits issued from different polysomes.

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Unité de Programmation Moléculaire et Toxicologie Génétique, CNRS LA 271, INSERM U.163, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


lamB is the structural gene for the lambda receptor, an oligomeric outer membrane protein from Escherichia coli K12 involved in phage lambda adsorption. We show that, under certain conditions, in a strain diploid for gene lamB, all the missense lamB mutations conferring lambda resistance that we have tested are dominant with respect to wild-type. We propose a model which allows a quantitative interpretation of the data. It is based on negative complementation at the level of oligomerisation. Wild-type and mutant subunits would assemble at random forming homo- and hetero-oligomers. Only wild-type homo-oligomers would be efficient for phage inactivation. For some classes of missense mutations the hetero-oligomers would have the capacity to bind, but not to inactivate the phage. The model confirms that active lambda receptor is a trimer and implies that for this secreted protein there is no preferential assembly of subunits originating from the same polysome.

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