A mutation in the lon (capR) gene of Escherichia coli K-12 effects several phenotypic alterations in the mutant cell, such as overproduction of capsular polysaccharide and sensitivity to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation. A previously cloned 9.2-megadalton (Md) EcoRI fragment contained the capR+ gene and specified two polypeptides, 94 kilodaltons (K) and 67K. To provide evidence that the 94K polypeptide is the capR+ gene product, we constructed a capR+ plasmid pJMC40, having a 2.0-Md EcoRI-PstI fragment which codes only for the 94K polypeptide. Plasmids pJMC22 and pJMC30, having deletions of 0.7 and 0.8 Md, respectively, from one end of the 2.0-Md fragment, were also constructed. Each codes for a shortened stable polypeptide (from the 94K). Neither plasmid can confer the capR+ phenotype to capR mutants, confirming that the unaltered 94K polypeptide is the capR+ gene product. Plasmids pJMC51 and pJMC52 each have a deletion of 0.7 Md from the other end of the 2.0-Md fragment, differing only in the orientation of the remaining 1.3-Md fragment with respect to the cloning vehicle. They are nonfunctional with respect to capR+ and do not code for a common polypeptide from the 1.3-Md fragment. These data indicate that the fragments in pJMC22 and pJMC30, which both code for shortened 94K polypeptides, contain the promoter-operator region of the capR gene. The deletion plasmids were also used to map chromosomal capR mutations
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