Both the acridine half-mustard, ICR191, and the nonalkylating azaacridine derivative, ICR364-OH, induce three classes of frameshift mutations in the histidine operon of Salmonella typhimurium. (i) One class is completely stable in reversion tests and is presumed to represent deletion of one or a few critical nucleotide pairs or two nearby frameshifts. One extended deletion was found out of 11 stable mutations. (ii) Of two spontaneously reverting classes which also are considered to predominantly involve base deletions, one is unaffected in reversion with ICR191, nitrosoguanidine, and diethylsulfate, and the other is induced to revert with ICR191. (iii) A third class, considered to predominantly involve base additions, responds in reversion tests with ICR191 as well as with nitrosoguanidine and diethylsulfate. Other investigators have shown that one mutant of this class is a “plus” frameshift and that nitrosoguanidine acts in reversion to delete a guanine plus cytosine base pair. Although such plus frameshifts are found with high frequency among mutations selected from acridine-treated bacteria or when strong selection pressure is applied for their detection in reversion tests, data from this laboratory indicate that this class of plus frameshifts is rare among mutations derived spontaneously or after treatment with a variety of other mutagens. Finally, we demonstrate that the alkylating ICR191 and the nonalkylating ICR364-OH preferentially cause mutations in different chromosome regions and that their spectra of activity only partially overlap that found for spontaneous frameshift mutations
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