Control of large chromosomal duplications in Escherichia coli by the mismatch repair system.
Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.
Excessive recombination between repeated, interspersed, and diverged DNA sequences is a potential source of genomic instability. We have investigated the possibility that a mechanism exists to suppress genetic exchange between these quasi-homologous (homeologous) sequences. We examined the role of the general mismatch repair system of Escherichia coli because previous work has shown that the mismatch repair pathway functions as a barrier to interspecies recombination between E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium. The formation of large duplications by homeologous recombination in E. coli was increased some tenfold by mutations in the mutL and mutS genes that encode the mismatch recognition proteins. These findings indicate that the mismatch recognition proteins act to prevent excessive intrachromosomal exchanges. We conclude that mismatch repair proteins serve as general controllers of the fidelity of genetic inheritance, acting to suppress chromosomal rearrangements as well as point mutations.
- [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]