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Mol Biol Evol. 1998 Jan;15(1):1-5.

Activation of the bgl operon by adaptive mutation.

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1
Biology Department, University of Rochester, New York 14627, USA. drbh@uhura.cc.rochester.edu

Abstract

In growing Escherichia coli K12 cells, the cryptic bgl operon is activated 98% of the time by insertions of IS1 or IS5 into the control region, designated bglR. The activated bgl operon permits utilization of the beta-glucoside sugar arbutin as a sole carbon and energy source. The bgl operon is also activated by late-occurring mutations during prolonged selection on arbutin. The late-occurring mutations that occurred during prolonged carbon starvation in the presence of arbutin were "adaptive mutations" because they were specific to the presence of arbutin, and they did not occur during prolonged starvation in the absence of arbutin. The spectrum of late-arising mutations differed from that of early-arising, growth-dependent mutations in that 20% of the late-arising mutants resulted from mutations at the hns locus. This provides the first direct evidence for adaptive mutagenesis mediated by the insertion of IS elements. Because no special genetic background is required to select Bgl+ mutants, this affords the opportunity to study IS-element-mediated adaptive mutagenesis in a variety of genetic backgrounds, including the backgrounds of natural isolates of E. coli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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