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Mol Microbiol. 1993 Feb;7(3):407-17.

Superinfection immunity of mycobacteriophage L5: applications for genetic transformation of mycobacteria.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260.


Mycobacteriophage L5 is a temperate phage of the mycobacteria that forms stable lysogens in Mycobacterium smegmatis. We show here that the 183-amino-acid product of L5 gene 71 confers immunity to L5 superinfection, is required for maintenance of the lysogenic state and contains a helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif--properties associated with repressors of temperate phages. We have utilized these observations to demonstrate the use of L5 gene 71 as a selectable marker for genetic transformation of the mycobacteria. Significantly, the use of L5 gene 71 as a selectable gene avoids the requirement for antibiotic-resistance genes providing an important tool for manipulation of the pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium, and for the construction of recombinant BCG vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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