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Characterization and genetic mapping of nontoxinogenic (tox) mutants of corynebacteriophage beta.

  • R K Holmes
Publication Date
Jul 01, 1976
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Seven new nontoxinogenic (tox) mutants of corynebacteriophage beta were isolated. Strains of Cornyebacterium diphtheriae C 7 lysogenic for these tox mutants of beta were tested for their ability to produce extracellular diphtherial toxin or proteins (CRMs) that cross-react immunologically with toxin. By using a sensitive reversed passive hemagglutination assay for toxin antigen, three of the tox mutants were phenotypically CRM+ and four were CRM-. The molecular weights of the CRMs produced by mutants beta tox-1, beta tox-2, and beta tox-3 were determined to be approximately 20,000, 26,000, and 34,000, respectively, by electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gels containing sodium dodecyl sulfate. The 26,000 and 34,000-dalton CRMs had nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide: elongation factor 2 adenosine diphosphate ribose transferase activity, but the 20,000-dalton CRM did not. These three CRMs correspond to amino-terminal fragments of diphtherial toxin and appear to be formed by chain termination during protein synthesis directed by phages with nonsense mutations in the structural gene for diphtherial toxin. No complementation was observed between independently isolated tox mutants of phage beta. The positions of four tox markers on the vegetative genetic map of phage beta were determined, and the orientation of transcription of the structural gene for diphtherial toxin with respect to other markers on the genetic map of phage beta was established.

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