Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 207, Issue 2–3, pp 256–266 | Cite as

Genetics of gliding motility in Myxococcus xanthus: Molecular cloning of the mgl locus

  • Karen Stephens
  • Dale Kaiser


Wild-type Myxococcus xanthus cells move across solid surfaces by gliding. However no locomotory organelles for gliding have as yet been identified. Two sets of genes are required for gliding in M. xanthus: Gene System A is necessary for the gliding of isolated cells and Gene System S comes into play when cells are close together. The product of the mgl locus is required for both types of gliding and therefore may be a structural component of the gliding organelle. To begin to investigate the function of mgl in gliding a 12 kb segment of M. xanthus DNA containing the locus was cloned in Escherichia coli and returned to Myxococcus by specialized transduction with coliphage P1. In M. xanthus the chimeric plasmid integrates into the chromosome by recombination between the cloned segment and its homolog in the recipient chromosome forming a tandem duplication of the cloned segment with the vector sequences at the novel joint. The construction of partial diploids in this manner facilitated dominance tests and interallelic crosses with ten mgl alleles. We also describe a method for the analysis of tandem duplications that precisely maps alleles to a specific copy of the duplicated sequences. This method provides evidence for the dominance of mgl+ over the mgl- alleles. It also reveals what appears to be gene conversion at this locus during recombination between a cloned mgl sequence and its homolog in the chromosome.

Key words

Gliding motility Cloning Tandem duplication analysis Gene conversion Myxobacteria 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Stephens
    • 1
  • Dale Kaiser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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