A new gene, mutK, of Vibrio cholerae, encoding a 19-kDa protein which is involved in repairing mismatches in DNA via a presumably methyl-independent pathway, has been identified. The product of the mutK gene cloned in either high- or low-copy-number vectors can reduce the spontaneous mutation frequency of Escherichia coli mutS, mutL, mutU, and dam mutants. The spontaneous mutation frequency of a chromosomal mutK knockout mutant was almost identical to that of wild-type V. cholerae cells, indicating that when the methyl-directed mismatch repair is blocked, the repair potential of MutK becomes apparent. The complete nucleotide sequence of the mutK gene has been determined, and the deduced amino acid sequence showed three open reading frames (ORFs), of which the ORF3 represents the mutK gene product. The mutK gene product has no significant homology with any of the proteins deposited in the EMBL data bank. ORF2, located upstream of mutK, encodes a 14-kDa protein which has more than 70% homology with a hypothetical protein found only downstream of the E. coli vsr gene. ORF1, located farther upstream of mutK, has more than 80% homology with a major cold shock protein found in several bacteria. Downstream of mutK, a partial ORF having 60% homology with an RNA methyltransferase has been identified. The mutK gene has recently been positioned in the ordered cloned DNA map of the genome of the V. cholerae strain from which the gene was isolated (10).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology