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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The Escherichia coli supX locus is topA, the structural gene for DNA topoisomerase I.

Mutations in the supX locus, which result in the absence of DNA topoisomerase I enzyme activity in both Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli, are all selected as suppressors of the leu-500 promoter mutation in S. typhimurium. To determine whether the supX locus is the structural gene topA for the DNA topoisomerase I enzyme or is a positive-acting regulator/activator gene for a nearby topA structural gene, nonsense mutations were selected in the E. coli supX gene carried on an F' episome in S. typhimurium cells. The cysB- topA region of the episomes with nonsense-mutant supX alleles were then cloned onto plasmid pBR322 and transformed into E. coli cells lacking a chromosomal supX gene. Three such E. coli strains, each carrying cloned DNA from episomes with different nonsense-mutant supX alleles, all lacked DNA topoisomerase I activity but expressed antigenic determinants specific to the enzyme; control cells lacked both enzyme activity and antigenic determinants. Maxicell studies of plasmid-coded proteins demonstrated the absence of the DNA topoisomerase I protein (100 kDa) in the three strains but the appearance of a new smaller peptide in each (36, 47, and 64 kDa). These new peptides must represent fragments of the enzyme resulting from translation termination at the supX nonsense codons and confirm the interpretation that the supX gene is topA, the structural gene for DNA topoisomerase I.[1]


  1. The Escherichia coli supX locus is topA, the structural gene for DNA topoisomerase I. Margolin, P., Zumstein, L., Sternglanz, R., Wang, J.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1985) [Pubmed]
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