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Cell. 1989 Mar 10;56(5):891-904.

Reverse transcriptase-dependent synthesis of a covalently linked, branched DNA-RNA compound in E. coli B.

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Department of Microbiology, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016.


We have found a branched DNA-RNA compound in E. coli B, that is similar in its secondary structure, but not its nucleotide sequence, to the previously described branched DNA-RNA compounds in myxobacteria. This compound is not produced in E. coli K12. We have cloned a 3.5 kb chromosomal segment of E. coli B, which, when transferred into E. coli K12, leads to the production of the DNA-RNA compound. We describe the isolation of the DNA-RNA compound, the determination of its nucleotide sequence, and the nucleotide sequence of the genes required for its formation. The sequence contains the coding regions for the DNA component, the RNA component, and an open reading frame encoding a reverse transcriptase. This reverse transcriptase is shown to be required for the formation of the DNA-RNA compound in vivo and in vitro.

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