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Poisson-like Fluctuation Patterns of Revertants of Leucine Auxotrophy (Leu-500) in Salmonella Typhimurium Caused by Delay in Mutant Cell Division

Authors
  • R. Dijkmans
  • S. Kreps
  • M. Mergeay
Publication Date
Jun 01, 1994
Source
PMC
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Leu(+) mutants from Salmonella typhimurium leu-500 strain MA412 arise at high frequencies and mutant colonies appear over a broad range of time on selective plates. This observation suggested that these Leu(+) mutants might be induced or ``directed.'' If such a mechanism was responsible, mutants should originate on selective plates rather than in the preceding culture in nonselective conditions and should give rise to Poisson-like fluctuation curves upon plating of sister cultures on selective medium. Poisson-like distribution profiles were indeed observed for Leu(+) mutants of S. typhimurium MA412. However, an explanation for the observed Poisson-like fluctuation patterns without a need for selection-induced mutations was found. Microscopical analysis and cell mass/viable count measurements showed that the size of Leu(+) mutant cells was often much larger than those of nonmutants. This size difference was a stable characteristic of a large proportion of Leu(+) mutants, was observed both in stationary and growing culture and did not measurably affect the division rates of the cells in nutrient broth. As the transition from normal-sized nonmutant to oversized mutant cells during the nonselective culture phase of the fluctuation experiment may have been accompanied by a period with no or few completed cell division cycles, the number of mutant offspring may have been smaller than that of sibling nonmutants. Such underrepresentation of mutants in the final culture is expected to give rise to Poisson-like fluctuation patterns without invoking ``directed'' mutations.

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