Certain mutations in gyrA and gyrB, the genes encoding the two subunits of DNA gyrase, are known to influence expression of the his operon (K. E. Rudd and R. Menzel, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84:517-521, 1987). Such mutations lead to a decrease in tRNA(His) levels and consequently to an attenuator- dependent increase in his operon expression. This effect presumably is due to the dependence of the hisR promoter (hisR encodes tRNA(His)) on supercoiling for maximal activity. We used a relaxed (Rel-) strain of Escherichia coli to isolate gyrB mutants by selecting for resistance to the histidine antimetabolite 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole and then screening for temperature- sensitive growth on rich medium. Rel- mutants, which generally have lower basal levels of ppGpp (a positive regulator of his operon transcription), are more sensitive than wild-type E. coli to aminotriazole. The chance of isolating spoT mutants, which can be selected with a similar procedure, was decreased by selecting in the presence of a multicopy plasmid that carries the wild-type spoT gene. Under these conditions, gyrB mutants were isolated preferentially. This scheme selects for loss of function of DNA gyrase, rather than for its alteration due to resistance to specific gyrase inhibitors, and thus a greater variety of gyrase mutations might be obtainable.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology