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, 13 (5), 660-5

Asymmetric Substitution Patterns in the Two DNA Strands of Bacteria

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Asymmetric Substitution Patterns in the Two DNA Strands of Bacteria

J R Lobry. Mol Biol Evol.

Abstract

Analyses of the genomes of three prokaryotes, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Haemophilus influenzae, revealed a new type of genomic compartmentalization of base frequencies. There was a departure from intrastrand equifrequency between A and T or between C and G, showing that the substitution patterns of the two strands of DNA were asymmetric. The positions of the boundaries between these compartments were found to coincide with the origin and terminus of chromosome replication, and there were more A-T and C-G deviations in intergenic regions and third codon positions, suggesting that a mutational bias was responsible for this asymmetry. The strand asymmetry was found to be due to a difference in base compositions of transcripts in the leading and lagging strands. This difference is sufficient to affect codon usage, but it is small compared to the effects of gene expressivity and amino-acid composition.

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