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

Polarity of Tn5 insertion mutations in Escherichia coli.

We assessed the effect of insertions of the kanamycin resistance transposon Tn5 in the lac operon of Escherichia coli on the expression of distal genes lacY and lacA (melibiose fermentation at 41 degrees C and thiogalactoside transacetylase synthesis, respectively). Every insertion mutation tested (41 in lacZ and 23 in lacY) was strongly polar. However, approximately one-third of the insertion mutants expressed distal genes at low levels due to a promoter associated with Tn5. To localize this promoter, we (i) reversed the orientation of Tn5 at several sites and (ii) replaced wild-type Tn5 with several substitution derivatives which lack Tn5's central region. Neither alteration changed the expression of distal genes. Thus, in contrast to transposons IS2 and TnA. Tn5's ability to turn on distal gene expression is not due to a promoter in its central region and therefore is not dependent on the overall orientation of Tn5 in the operon. Our results suggest that the promoter is within 186 base pairs of the ends of Tn5. It is possible that the promoter is detected in only a fraction of insertions because it overlaps Tn5-target sequence boundary.[1]


  1. Polarity of Tn5 insertion mutations in Escherichia coli. Berg, D.E., Weiss, A., Crossland, L. J. Bacteriol. (1980) [Pubmed]
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