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Base changes in the recognition site for ter functions in lambdoid phage DNA

Naturevolume 254pages262265 (1975) | Download Citation



THE DNA of bacteriophage λ is a linear duplex of about 45,000 base pairs with single-stranded projections of twelve bases at its 5′ termini1,2. These projections are of complementary base sequence3 and result from the action of a λ gene product4, ter, on a concatenated form of the phage DNA5. The base sequences of the single-stranded regions have been determined from repair reactions with DNA polymerase and radioactively labelled nucleoside triphosphates3 and from analyses of DNase digestion products from 5′-terminally labelled DNA6. The 3′ terminal sequences of λ DNA have also been determined by analysis of DNase digests of DNA labelled at or near its 3′ termini in exonuclease-repair reactions with T4 DNA polymerase7. Together, these results gave a sequence of 25 base pairs in the region of the DNA molecule at which the ter function interacts (cos). The sequence between the nicks that the ter enzyme would be required to make in the concatenated DNA is bisected by an axis of twofold rotational symmetry. This sequence provided an example of discontinuous or hyphenated symmetry in a DNA sequence recognised by a protein7. The base sequences of the lac operator8, the λ, promoter9, and the promoter10 for tRNATyrsuIII also contain hyphenated elements of symmetry.

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  1. Department of Molecular Biology and Medical Research Council Molecular Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh King' Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JR, UK

  2. Institutionen for Mikrobiologi, Karolinska Institut, 104 01, Stockholm, 60, Sweden



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