Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 146, Issue 3, pp 239–245 | Cite as

Isolation and characterization of ColE2 plasmid mutants unable to kill colicin-sensitive cells

  • Robert A. Hallewell
  • David J. Sherratt


After transfer from a mutagenized host, twenty one ColE2 plasmid mutants were isolated after screening 10,000 clones for abnormal colicin production. Analysis by SDS polyacrylamide slab gel electrophoresis of proteins synthesized after mitomycin C-induction of mutant cultures, indicates that all but two of the mutations are in the structural gene for colicin E2. Of these, nine produce fragments of colicin in both whole cells and minicells and some are suppressed by nonsense suppressors.

Studies with a nonsense mutant producing only a small colicin E2 fragment (ColE2-421) suggest that colicin E2 is not involved in plasmid DNA replication, in the control of its own synthesis, or required for cell death when cells become committed to colicin production. The two plasmid mutants outside the colicin gene segregate plasmid-free cells at 33°, 37° and 43°. One segregates fairly rapidly (about 4% per generation) though the colicin-producing cells make normal amounts of colicin, whilst the other segregates more slowly and the colicin-producing cells make much reduced amounts of colicin.


Mitomycin Normal Amount Nonsense Mutant Plasmid Mutant Produce Fragment 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Hallewell
    • 1
  • David J. Sherratt
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SussexBrightonEngland

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