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Dev Biol. 1986 Sep;117(1):252-66.

A global analysis of developmentally regulated genes in Myxococcus xanthus.


Tn5 lac is a transposon that fuses the transcription of lacZ to exogenous promoters. We generated 2374 Tn5 lac insertion-containing strains of Myxococcus xanthus, a soil bacterium that undergoes multicellular development which culminates in the formation of spores. Thirty-six strains were identified that specifically increase beta-galactosidase expression at some particular time during development and these expression times range from minutes after starvation initiates development to 24 hr, when sporulation begins. Different maximum levels of beta-galactosidase expression were also observed and the maximum for many strains that begin beta-galactosidase expression late in development was observed only if spores were disrupted. Seven of the 36 strains display mild to severe defects in aggregation and/or sporulation, as did an additional five strains whose beta-galactosidase expression was not developmentally regulated. Restriction maps of the DNA adjacent to the Tn5 lac insertions that are developmentally regulated and/or cause developmental defects show that most of the 41 insertions are in different regions of the Myxococcus genome. The developmentally regulated Tn5 lac insertions described here provide a set of at least 29 new developmental markers for Myxococcus.

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