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Mechanism of Inactivation of Haemophilus influenzae Transforming Deoxyribonucleic Acid by Sonic Radiation1

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  • Genetics And Molecular Biology
  • Physics


Transforming deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from Haemophilus influenzae was exposed to sonic radiation of various durations. Reductions in transforming ability of the DNA, cellular DNA uptake, and integration into the genome, and single- and double-stranded molecular weights of the transforming DNA were measured and compared. We conclude that (i) sonic radiation causes DNA strand breaks (almost always double-strand breaks with relatively few alkaline-labile bonds), the number increasing with exposure until the double-stranded molecular weight is reduced to less than 106 daltons; and (ii) since transformation is reduced about as much as integration and much more than uptake, inactivation of transforming DNA by sonic radiation appears to be caused mostly by failure of Haemophilus cells to integrate the transforming DNA that is taken into the cells. These results are similar to those for inactivation by X radiation but differ from those for ultraviolet radiation. A strand break caused by sonic radiation, however, does not necessarily inactivate the transforming DNA, whereas in the case of ionizing radiation it may. The results may be fit by the model proposed by Cato and Guild. From our data and the equation of Lacks, the minimum active site of DNA necessary for transformation and the frequency of exchanges between donor and recipient strands upon integration of transforming DNA were estimated as 0.35 × 106 to 0.7 × 106 daltons and 0.15 to 0.4 switches per 106 daltons, respectively.

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