Transposable element IS50 improves growth rate of E. coli cells without transposition

Cell. 1983 Dec;35(2 Pt 1):503-10. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(83)90184-8.


Insertion sequence IS50R, which encodes the transposase and an inhibitor of transposition of the kanamycin-resistance transposon Tn5, increases the growth rate of E. coli K12 cells relative to that of their otherwise isogenic counterparts during competition in continuous culture. Most clones isolated from chemostats in which selection had occurred retain their original number of copies of IS50R at their original genomic locations, implying that the increased growth rate is not mediated by transposition. The selective advantage due to a single IS50R element averages about 5% per hour. When the number of copies of IS50R is small, the growth-rate advantage is approximately proportional to the number of copies of IS50R. These results imply that IS50R has effects on cells that are independent of both position and transposition and may be important in the initial selection leading to the appearance of such elements in bacterial populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / physiology
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Genotype
  • Kanamycin / toxicity
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Kanamycin