Using a papillation method, a large number of Escherichia coli K-12 mutator mutations have been isolated. Only one of these (out of 1,250) mutator mutations has proved to be conditionally lethal at high temperatures. In vivo complementation tests indicated that this mutation, dnaE9, lies in dnaE, the structural gene for DNA polymerase III. The dnaE9 polymerase was not thermolabile in vitro; however, it showed a slow decline in specific activity in vivo at the nonpermissive temperature. Cultures of this mutant exhibited a comparably slow shutoff of DNA synthesis on shift to a nonpermissive temperature. dnaE9 showed temperature-sensitive mutator activity, which is not dependent on recA
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