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Annu Rev Genet. 1996;30:79-107.

Bacterial diversity based on type II DNA topoisomerase genes.

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Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.


Type II DNA topoisomerases are essential and ubiquitous DNA metabolic enzymes that alter DNA topology. Eubacteria have two indispensable type II DNA topoisomerases, DNA gyrase encoded by gyrB and gyrA and topoisomerase IV encoded by parE and parC. These genes belong to a single family whose members span both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The highly conserved motifs in these genes provide a rationale for the design of universal primers used in the polymerase chain reaction in order to systematically generate a data set suitable for bacterial diversity studies at the macro-diversity level, as well as at the micro-diversity level displaying individual species and isolates. This family of genes is the subject of intensive biochemical and genetic analyses, which provide an opportunity for comprehensive understanding of sequence conservation and variability and their relationship to function. These genes are ideally suited for microbial identification and biodiversity analyses.

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