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J Virol. 1971 Apr;7(4):460-6.

Reversion of frameshift mutations stimulated by lesions in early function genes of bacteriophage T4.


Temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants representative of a number of genes of phage T4 were crossed with rII mutants to allow isolation of ts, rII double-mutant recombinants. The rII mutations used were characterized as frameshift mutations primarily on the basis of their revertability by proflavine. For each ts, rII double mutant, the effect of the ts mutation on spontaneous reversion of the rII mutation was determined over a range of incubation temperatures. A strong enhancement in reversion of two different rII mutants was detected when they were combined with tsL56, a mutation in gene 43 [deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) polymerase]. Three other mutants defective in gene 43 enhanced reversion about fourfold. Two mutations in gene 32, which specifies a protein necessary for DNA replication, enhanced reversion about 5-fold and 18-fold, respectively. Two additional mutations in gene 43 and two in gene 32 had no effect. Fivefold and threefold enhancements in reversion were also found with mutations in genes 44 (DNA synthesis) and 47 (deoxyribonuclease), respectively. No significant effect was found with mutations in seven additional genes. The results of other workers suggest that frameshift mutations arise from errors in strand alignment during repair synthesis occurring at chromosome tips. Our results show that such errors can be enhanced by mutations in the DNA polymerase, the gene 32 protein, and the enzymes specified by genes 44 and 47. This implies that these proteins are employed in the repair process occurring at chromosome tips and that mutational errors in these proteins can lead to loss of ability to recognize and reject strand misalignments.

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