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Virology. 1989 May;170(1):302-6.

Insertional mutagenesis of the vaccinia virus gene encoding a type I DNA topoisomerase: evidence that the gene is essential for virus growth.

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Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Vaccinia virus encodes a type I DNA topoisomerase whose function in virus replication is not known. To determine whether topoisomerase is required for growth of vaccinia in cell culture, we attempted to isolate null mutations in the topoisomerase gene through insertional mutagenesis. Plasmids containing mutant topoisomerase alleles were constructed by intragenic insertion of the Escherichia coli gpt gene. Recombinant viruses containing the gpt insertion were isolated by selection for growth in the presence of mycophenolic acid. Analysis of the genome structures of drug-resistant viruses revealed that in every case (n = 22) both the wild-type and the gpt-inserted allele were present in viral DNA. We interpret the retention of the wild-type allele as indicative of the essential nature of the topoisomerase gene for vaccinia virus growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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