We have used a strain with an altered lacZ gene, which reverts to wild type via only certain transversions, to detect transversion-specific mutators in Escherichia coli. Detection relied on a papillation technique that uses a combination of beta-galactosides to reveal blue Lac+ papillae. One class of mutators is specific for the G.C----T.A transversion as determined by the reversion pattern of a set of lacZ mutations and by the distribution of forward nonsense mutations in the lacI gene. The locus responsible for the mutator phenotype is designated mutY and maps near 64 min on the genetic map of E. coli. The mutY locus may act in a similar but reciprocal fashion to the previously characterized mutT locus, which results in A.T----C.G transversions
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