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Gene. 1991 Feb 1;98(1):45-52.

Gene expression in Deinococcus radiodurans.

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Department of Pathology, F.E. Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814-4799.


We previously reported that the Escherichia coli drug-resistance determinants aphA (kanamycin-resistance) and cat (chloramphenicol-resistance) could be introduced to Deinococcus radiodurans by transformation methods that produce duplication insertion. However, both determinants appeared to require dramatic chromosomal amplification for expression of resistance. Additional studies described here, confirming this requirement for extensive amplification, led us to the use of promoter-probe plasmids in which the E. coli promoter has been deleted, leaving only coding sequences for the marker gene. We find that the insertion of D. radiodurans sequences immediately upstream from the promoterless drug-resistance determinant produces drug-resistant transformants without significant chromosomal amplification. Furthermore, a series of stable E. coli-D. radiodurans shuttle plasmids was devised by inserting fragments of D. radiodurans plasmid pUE10 in an E. coli plasmid directly upstream from a promoterless cat gene. These constructions replicated in D. radiodurans by virtue of the pUE10 replicon and expressed the cat determinant because of D. radiodurans promoter sequences in the pUE10 fragment. Of three such constructions, none expressed the cat gene in E. coli. Similar results were obtained using a promoterless tet gene. Translational fusions were made between D. radiodurans genes and E. coli 5'-truncated lacZ. Three fusions that produced high levels of beta Gal in D. radiodurans were introduced into E. coli, but beta Gal was produced in only one. The results demonstrate that the E. coli genes cat, tet and lacZ can be efficiently expressed in D. radiodurans if a D. radiodurans promoter is provided, and that D. radiodurans promoters often do not function as promoters in E. coli.

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