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Uptake of Synthetic Polynucleotides by Competent Cells of Bacillus subtilis

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Genes
  • Polynucleotides
  • Biology


JOURNAL OF Bac~~nrorocu, Nov. 1970, p. 684-688 Vol. 104, No. 2 Copyright 0 1970 American Society for Microbiology Primed in U.S.A. Uptake of Synthetic Polynucleotides by Competent Cells of Bacillus subtiZis OR10 CIFERRI,’ SERGIO BARLATI,’ AND JOSHUA LEDERBERG Deparfment of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Culiforuia 94305 Received for publication 21 July 1970 A survey was made of the capacity of competent cells of Brrcillus subrilis to take up synthetic polynucleotides. Polydeoxyribonucleotides but not polyribonucleotides are taken up by the cells. Both types of polynucleotide failed to compete with trans- forming deoxyribonucleic acid in the transformation assay whereas both stimulated amino acid incorporation. The latter phenomenon appears to be nonspecific as there is no correlation between the codon composition of the polynucleotides em- ployed and the amino acids whose incorporation was stimulated. Hurwitz et al. (6) and Evans (2) showed that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-ribonucleic acid (RNA) hybrid complexes are capable of con- ferring the sulfonamide resistance phenotype upon sensitive recipient cells of Dipfococcus pneumoniae. More recently Kirtikar and Duerksen (7) reported the induction of penicillinase by treating cultures of Bacillus cereus and Staphylo- coccus aureus with RNA prepared from a peni- cillinase constitutive strain of B. cereus. Amos et al. (1) presented evidence favoring the conten- tion that in “soniplasts,” prepared from Esche- richiu co/i, polyuridilic acid (poly-rU) specifically stimulates the incorporation of phenylalanine but not of leucine. This paper reports the negative results of dili- gent efforts to demonstrate the uptake of “syn- thetic messenger” polynucleotides by competent cells of B. subtilis. Rather than discard the present results without mention, we present them to illustrate some potential artifacts and save time for others who may have more ingenious approache

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