Effect of chromosome location on bacterial mutation rates

Mol Biol Evol. 2002 Jan;19(1):85-92. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a003986.


In previous comparisons of enterobacterial sequences, synonymous substitution rates were higher in genes closer to the replication terminus, suggesting that mutation rates increase with distance from the replication origin. In order to directly test for the effects of chromosomal location on the rates of point mutations, we assayed the reversion rates of two lacZ alleles inserted at four positions in the Salmonella enterica chromosome. Mutation rates at an intermediate locus were significantly higher than those at loci nearer to and farther from the replication origin. The higher reversion rates at this locus were neither the result of an overall increase in mutation rates produced by the insertion at this location nor a function of the mutations' immediate neighbors, but rather a regional effect. At all loci, regardless of chromosome location, T.A --> G.C transversions were more frequent than A.T --> G.C transitions during the exponential phase.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Gene Order / genetics*
  • Kinetics
  • Lac Operon / genetics
  • Mutagenesis / genetics*
  • Point Mutation / genetics*
  • Replication Origin / genetics*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics
  • Salmonella typhimurium / growth & development