Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Genetics. 1992 Aug;131(4):783-9.

Mechanisms of directed mutation.

Author information

Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118.


Spontaneous mutants arise among nondividing populations of Escherichia coli in apparent response to selective conditions. In this report we investigate several hypotheses to account for the role of selection in the production of these "directed" or "adaptive" mutations. We found that the Lac+ phenotypes of some mutants that arise late after lactose selection are due to suppressor mutations that are unlinked to the mutant lacZ allele; thus the production of these Lac+ mutants does not require an information flow from successful proteins back to the DNA that encodes them. Transcriptional induction of the lac operon, even in the presence of another, utilizable carbon source, did not stimulate the occurrence of Lac+ mutants in the absence of lactose, indicating that the role of the selective agent is not merely to induce transcription. The absence of two DNA repair pathways-methyl-directed mismatch repair and alkylation repair-also did not result in an accumulation of Lac+ mutants in the absence of lactose, suggesting that these repair pathways are not normally responsible for correcting transient variants that might arise in the absence of selection. However, in one case the Lac+ mutation is likely to be due to a miscoding lesion occurring on the nontranscribed DNA strand, indicating that, at least in this instance, DNA replication is required before directed mutations can arise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center