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Mutat Res. 1994 Dec 1;311(2):175-89.

DNA sequence analysis of spontaneous and gamma-radiation (anoxic)-induced lacId mutations in Escherichia coli umuC122::Tn5: differential requirement for umuC at G.C vs. A.T sites and for the production of transversions vs. transitions.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, MO 63501.


Escherichia coli umuC122::Tn5 cells were gamma-irradiated (137Cs, 750 Gy, under N2), and lac-constitutive mutants were produced at 36% of the wild-type level (the umuC strain was not deficient in spontaneous mutagenesis, and the mutational spectrum determined by sequencing 263 spontaneous lacId mutations was very similar to that for the wild-type strain). The specific nature of the umuC strain's partial radiation mutability was determined by sequencing 325 radiation-induced lacId mutations. The yields of radiation-induced mutation classes in the umuC strain (as a percentage of the wild-type yield) were: 80% for A.T-->G.C transitions, 70% for multi-base additions, 60% for single-base deletions, 53% for A.T-->C.G transversions, 36% for G.C-->A.T transitions, 25% for multi-base deletions, 21% for A.T-->T.A transversions, 11% for G.C-->C.G transversions, 9% for G.C-->T.A transversions, and 0% for multiple mutations. Based on these deficiencies and other factors, it is concluded that the umuC strain is near-normal for A.T-->G.C. transitions, single-base deletions and possibly A.T-->C.G transversions; is generally deficient for mutagenesis at G.C sites and for transversions, and is grossly deficient in multiple mutations. Damage at G.C sites seems more difficult for translesion DNA synthesis to bypass than damage at A.T sites, and especially when trying to produce a transversion. The yield of G.C-->A.T transitions in the umuC strain (36% of the wild-type level) argues that abasic sites are involved in no more than 64% of gamma-radiation-induced base substitutions in the wild-type strain. Altogether, these data suggest that the UmuC and UmuD' proteins facilitate, rather than being absolutely required for, translesion DNA synthesis; with the degree of facilitation being dependent both on the nature of the noncoding DNA damage, i.e., at G.C vs. A.T sites, and on the nature of the misincorporated base, i.e., whether it induces transversions or transitions.

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