Mechanisms of deletion formation in Escherichin coli plasmids - II. Deletions mediated by short direct repeats

Alexander V. Mazin, Andrew V. Kuzminov, Grigory L. Dianov, Rudolf I. Salganik

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60 Scopus citations


A set of plasmids containing 42, 21 and 13 bp direct repeats was used to analyze the effect of repeat length on the frequencies of deletion formation and the structure of the deleted derivatives of different recombination-deficient Escherichia coli strains. Agarose gel electrophoresis of plasmid DNA demonstrated that the formation of deletions in these plasmids was associated with dimerization of plasmid DNA. Restriction analysis of the dimers showed that deletions at short direct repeats arose non-conservatively, that is, the formation of a deletion in one monomeric plasmid unit was not associated with a duplication in the other. Mutations in the recA, recF, recJ and recO genes had no marked effect on either the frequencies of deletion formation or the structure of dimers. In contrast, recB recC mutations greatly increased the frequencies of deletion formation, 6-fold for 42 bp, and 115-fold for 21 by direct repeats. Conversion of DNA replication to the rolling circle mode in a recB recC strain, resulting in the formation of double-stranded ends, is suggested as the stimulatory effector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalMGG Molecular & General Genetics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Deletion
  • Direct repeats
  • Escherichia coli plasmids
  • Plasmid recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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