Marker rescue transformation by linear plasmid DNA in Bacillus subtilis

Sara Contente, David Dubnau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Although plasmid-free Bacillus subtilis cannot be transformed for markers carried by linear or nicked plasmid DNA, a resident plasmid can rescue a marker on such damaged DNA under certain conditions. Linearized chimeric plasmid DNA has been used to transform cultures carrying a resident plasmid which is homologous with a portion of the donor. This system has revealed the following properties of the marker rescue process: (1) It is recE dependent. (2) It requires the presence in the resident plasmid of sequences which are homologous to the donor. (3) When the selected marker is on a nonhomologous segment it must be flanked by segments which are homologous to the resident plasmid. (4) The efficiency of rescue varies in a regular way with the position of the linearizing cut. (5) Marker rescue is first order with respect to DNA concentration. These properties and other data are interpreted as providing a strong indication that marker rescue occurs by recombination, although an alternative explanation involving recE-dependent recircularization of the donor plasmid has not been eliminated. Our results also suggest that if the major pathway of marker rescue is by recombination, an average of 0.15 Mdal (single strand) must be removed from each donor DNA molecule or otherwise rendered unavailable for recombination and that the exchange frequency during transformational recombination is approximately 0.2 to 0.5 Mdal-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-571
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology


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