The DeltauvrB mutations in the Ames strains of Salmonella span 15 to 119 genes

Mutat Res. 2001 Nov 1;483(1-2):1-11. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(01)00239-1.


The DeltauvrB mutations present in strains of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium used commonly in the Salmonella (Ames) mutagenicity assay were isolated independently for at least five different his mutants. These deletions all involved the galactose operon, biotin operon, nucleotide-excision-repair uvrB gene, and chlorate-resistance genes. Beyond this, the size of the deletions and the number and type of genes deleted have remained unknown for nearly 30 years. Here, we have used genomic hybridization to a Typhimurium microarray to characterize these five DeltauvrB deletions. The number of genes (and amount of DNA) deleted due to the DeltauvrB mutations are 15 (16kb) each in TA97 and TA104, 47 (50kb) in TA100, 87 (96kb) in TA1537, and 119 (125kb) in TA98, accounting for 0.3, 0.3, 1.0, 1.9, and 2.6% of the genome, respectively. In addition, TA97 and TA104 contain an identical three-gene deletion elsewhere in their genomes, and, most remarkably, TA104 contains a 282-gene amplification, representing 7% of the genome. Missing genes include mfdA and mdaA, encoding a multi-drug translocase and a major nitroreductase, respectively, both absent in TA98; dps, encoding a DNA-binding protein absent in TA1537 and TA98; and dinG, encoding a lexA-regulated repair enzyme, absent in three DeltauvrB lineages. Genes involved in molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis and a number of ORFs of unknown functions are missing in all DeltauvrB strains investigated. Studies in DeltauvrB strains of Escherichia coli have found that the enhanced mutagenesis of some base analogues was due to the deletion of genes involved in molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis rather than to deletion of uvrB. These discoveries do not diminish the value of the data generated in the Ames strains. However, absence of genes other than uvrB may account for the enhanced mutagenicity of some compounds in DeltauvrB Ames strains. In general, microarrays will be useful for characterizing the extent and nature of deletion and amplification mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Helicases / genetics*
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutation*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics*
  • Species Specificity


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • UvrB protein, E coli
  • DNA Helicases