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Biochemistry of DNA-defective mutants of bacteriophage T4. VI. Biological functions of gene 42.

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  • Biology
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Abstract

Bacteriophage T4 gene 1 and 42 amber mutants (defective in deoxynucleoside monophosphate kinase and deoxycytidylate hydroxymethylase, respectively) are able to synthesize DNA in cell-free lysates prepared as described by Barry and Alberts (1972), in contrast to their inabliity to do so in plasmolyzed and toluenized cell systems. Addition of extracts containing an active gene 1 or 42 product has no effect on synthesis in lysates defective in the respective gene. Thus, if these enzymes do play additional direct roles in replication, these roles are not manifest in the lysed-cell system. The gene 42 mutant am N122/m, a double mutant bearing an additional defect in DNA polymerase, is unable to synthesize DNA in these lysates. This inability is overcome by addition of extracts containing an active T4 DNA polymerase. m is a leaky amber mutation which reduces DNA polymerase activity to a very low level. However, this level is high enough to allow positive genetic complementation tests with gene 43 mutants. Two other gene 42 amber mutants contain additional defects: am 269 induces only half the normal level of DNA polymerase, and am C87 fails to induce a detectable level of thymidylate synthetase. These defects do not result from pleiotropic effects of the gene 42 mutations. In plasmolyzed cells, temperature-sensitive gene 42 mutants fail to synthesize DNA under conditions where replication forks and 5-hydroxymethyl-dCTP are present. This supports the idea that the gene 42 protein is directly involved in DNA synthesis.

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