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Isolation and characterization of mutants with deletions in dnaQ, the gene for the editing subunit of DNA polymerase III in Salmonella typhimurium.

ABSTRACT: dnaQ (mutD) encodes the editing exonuclease subunit (epsilon) of DNA polymerase III. Previously described mutations in dnaQ include dominant and recessive mutator alleles as well as leaky temperature-sensitive alleles. We describe the properties of strains bearing null mutations (deletion-substitution alleles) of this gene. Null mutants exhibited a growth defect as well as elevated spontaneous mutation. As a consequence of the poor growth of dnaQ mutants and their high mutation rate, these strains were replaced within single colonies by derivatives carrying an extragenic suppressor mutation that compensated the growth defect but apparently not the mutator effect. Sixteen independently derived suppressors mapped in the vicinity of dnaE, the gene for the polymerization subunit (alpha) of DNA polymerase III, and one suppressor that was sequenced encoded an altered alpha polypeptide. Partially purified DNA polymerase III containing this altered alpha subunit was active in polymerization assays. In addition to their dependence on a suppressor mutation affecting alpha, dnaQ mutants strictly required DNA polymerase I for viability. We argue from these data that in the absence of epsilon, DNA replication falters unless secondary mechanisms, including genetically coded alteration in the intrinsic replication capacity of alpha and increased use of DNA polymerase I, come into play. Thus, epsilon plays a role in DNA replication distinct from its known role in controlling spontaneous mutation frequency.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC210399 | BioStudies | 1989-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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