Lethal transposition of Mud phages in Rec- strains of Salmonella typhimurium

R. V. Sonti, D. H. Keating, J. R. Roth

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6 Scopus citations


Under several circumstances, the frequency with which Mud prophages form lysogens is apparently reduced in rec strains of Salmonella typhimurium. Lysogen formation by a MudI genome (37 kb) injected by a Mu virion is unaffected by a host rec mutation. However when the same MudI phage is injected by a phage P22 virion, lysogeny is reduced in a recA or recB mutant host. A host rec mutation reduces the lysogenization of mini-Mu phages injected by either Mu or P22 virions. When lysogen frequency is reduced by a host rec mutation, the surviving lysogens show an increased probability of carrying a deletion adjacent to the Mud insertion site. We propose that the rec effects seen are due to a failure of conservative Mu transposition. Replicative Mud transposition from a linear fragment causes a break in the host chromosome with a Mu prophage at both broken ends. These breaks are lethal unless repaired; repair can be achieved by Rec functions acting on the repeated Mu sequences or by secondary transposition events. In a normal Mu infection, the initial transposition from the injected fragment is conservative and does not break the chromosome. To account for the conditions under which rec effects are seen, we propose that conservative transposition of Mu depends on a protein that must be injected with the DNA. This protein can be injected by Mu but not by P22 virions. Injection or function of the protein may depend on its association with a particular Mu DNA sequence that is present and properly positioned in Mu capsids containing full-sized Mu or MudI genomes; this sequence may be lacking or abnormally positioned in the mini-Mud phages tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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