Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 167, Issue 3, pp 317–327

Segregation of the mutator property of plasmid R46 from its ultraviolet-protecting property

  • Kristien E. Mortelmans
  • B. A. D. Stocker

DOI: 10.1007/BF00267425

Cite this article as:
Mortelmans, K.E. & Stocker, B.A.D. Molec. Gen. Genet. (1979) 167: 317. doi:10.1007/BF00267425


Plasmid R46 (an R factor conferring resistance to ampicillin, sulfonamides, streptomycin and tetracycline) reduces the bactericidal effect of UV irradiation but increases its mutagenic effect (reversion of hisG46), and raises the frequency of spontaneous reversion (mutator effect). Putative deletion mutants of R46 were obtained by transduction of the plasmid, then two successive conjugal transfers. Plasmids of five of six deletion classes, each with a different combination of drug resistance traits, retained conjugative ability and the UV-protecting, mutagenesis-enhancing and mutator effects of R46. (pKM101, used in the Ames system to enhance responsiveness to chemical mutagens, is one such mutant of R46.) Plasmids of a sixth class, represented by pKM115, conferred resistance only to streptomycin and were non-conjugative. All of several such plasmids (of independent origin) had a much stronger mutator effect than did R46, but lacked UV-protecting ability and did not enhance the mutagenic effect of UV irradiation. We infer that R46 possesses: (i) a gene, uvp, which increases capacity for error-prone repair of UV-damaged DNA, and thus causes both UV protection and enhancement of UV mutagenesis; (ii) gene(s) whose action in the absence of gene uvp greatly increases the frequency of spontaneous reversion of hisG46. A plasmid of another incompatibility group, pLS51, has UV-protecting and mutagenesis-enhancing effect but lacks the mutator property; introduction of pLS51 into a clone of hisG46 carrying a pKM115-type plasmid greatly reduced its spontaneous reversion rate, as expected if pLS51 also has a uvp gene able to modulate the mutator effect of R46-derived gene(s) in the pKM115-type plasmid.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristien E. Mortelmans
    • 1
  • B. A. D. Stocker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical MicrobiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of ToxicologySRI InternationalMenlo ParkUSA

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