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Hypersensitivity To Hg2+ And Hyperbinding Activity Associated With Cloned Fragments Of The Mercurial Resistance Operon Of Plasmid NR1.

H. Nakahara, Sandra Silver, T. Miki, R. Rownd
Published 1979 · Biology, Medicine

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The region of plasmid NR1 concerned with resistance to Hg2+ and organomercurials consists of sequences found on restriction endonuclease fragments EcoRI-H and EcoRI-I. When both fragments were cloned together into a derivative of plasmid ColE1, the hybrid plasmid conferred properties indistinguishable from those of the parental plasmid, NR1: resistance to Hg2+ and to the organomercurials merbromin and fluoresceinmercuric acetate and the inducible synthesis of the enzyme mercuric reductase. When fragment EcoRI-I was cloned into plasmid ColE1, cells containing the plasmid was as sensitive to Hg2+ and organomercurials as plasmidless strains. When fragment EcoRI-H was cloned into ColE1, cells with the hybrid plasmid were hypersensitive to Hg2+ and organomercurials. This hypersensitivity was inducible by prior exposure to low, subtoxic Hg2+ or merbromin levels. It was associated with an inducible hyperbinding activity attributed to a gene governing Hg2+ uptake and found on fragment EcoRI-H (which contains the proximal portion of a mercuric resistance [mer] operon).

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