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

Stimulation of recombination between homologous sequences on carcinogen-treated plasmid DNA and chromosomal DNA by induction of the SOS response in Escherichia coli K12.

Previous studies have shown that transformation of Escherichia coli by plasmid DNA modified in vitro by carcinogens leads to RecA-dependant recombination between homologous plasmid and chromosomal DNA sequences. The mechanism of this recombination has now been studied using recombination-deficient mutants, and the influence of induction of the SOS response on the level of recombination investigated. Plasmid pNO1523, containing the str+ operon (Sms), has been modified in vitro by either irradiation with UV light, or by reaction with (+/-) trans-benzo(a)pyrene-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE) and used to transform streptomycin-resistant hosts. The formation of Ampr transformants which also carry streptomycin resistance was used as a measure of the level of recombination between plasmid and chromosomal DNA. Transformation of recB and recC mutants produced no change in the level of recombination while in the recF mutant a significant decrease was observed compared to the wild type host. Thermal induction of the SOS response in tif-1 and tif-1 umuC mutants followed by transformation led to a four-fold increase in recombination in both cases. The results suggest that the streptomycin-resistant transformants arise exclusively via a recombinational pathway which is largely dependant on the recF gene product, and that this pathway is influenced by induction of the SOS response. These results are discussed in terms of the mechanism of this recombination.[1]


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