Mutation frequencies for an Escherichia coli mutT strain were measured in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. When cells were grown in a rich medium (L broth), mutation frequencies were similar in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. In contrast, when grown in a minimal medium, mutT anaerobic mutation frequencies were reduced dramatically compared with aerobic values, which were similar to L broth frequencies. L broth mutT cultures treated with a commercial enzyme complex that reduces free oxygen in the medium also showed strongly reduced anaerobic mutation frequencies. These results indicate that the biological role of the MutT protein is to prevent oxidative damage from becoming mutagenic
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