A repetitive DNA sequence, rhs, responsible for duplications within the Escherichia coli K-12 chromosome

J Mol Biol. 1984 Jul 25;177(1):1-18. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(84)90054-8.


A novel family of large, imperfectly repeated DNA sequences has been found in Escherichia coli. Two members of this family, rhsA and rhsB, occur as direct repeats, flanking the pit glyS xyl segment of the chromosome. Unequal sister-chromatid crossing over between rhsA and rhsB accounts for the frequent tandem duplication of the glyS locus that has been observed by various workers. This unequal recombination is recA-dependent. The rhsA locus is operationally defined as the segment between xyl and mtl that is repeated at other chromosomal locations. Using this definition, rhsA extends minimally 5500 base-pairs; 3800 base-pairs of rhsA are sufficiently homologous to rhsB to form an S1 nuclease-resistant heteroduplex with it. The rhsA sequence also exhibits internal repetition. At least one additional rhs sequence occurs in the E. coli chromosome unlinked to either rhsA or rhsB. Southern analysis of restriction digests of genomic DNA from E. coli strains C and B/5 showed that both of these strains have rhs hybridizable patterns similar to strain K-12, but the rhs sequence is absent in Salmonella typhimurium. The function of the rhs sequences has not been discovered. In the course of this work we developed a technique, termed "transductional walking", by which chromosomal DNA adjacent to a previously cloned DNA segment can be cloned through genetic procedures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Heteroduplexes
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Nucleic Acid Heteroduplexes
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes