Excision of the prokaryotic transposon Tn10 is a host-mediated process that occurs in the absence of recA function or any transposon-encoded functions. To determine which host functions might play a role in transposon excision, we have isolated 40 mutants of E. coli K12, designated tex, which increase the frequency of Tn10 precise excision. Three of these mutations (texA) have been shown to qualitatively alter RecBC function. We show that 21 additional tex mutations with a mutator phenotype map to five genes previously identified as components of a methylation-directed pathway for repair of base pair mismatches: uvrD, mutH, mutL, mutS and dam. Previously identified alleles of these genes also have a Tex phenotype.--Several other E. coli mutations affecting related functions have been analyzed for their effects on Tn10 excision. Other mutations affecting the frequency of spontaneous mutations (mutT, polA, ung), different excision repair pathways (uvrA, uvrB) or the state of DNA methylation (dcm) have no effect on Tn10 excision. Mutations ssb-113 and mutD5, however, do increase Tn10 excision.--The products of the mismatch correction genes probably function in a coordinated way during DNA repair in vivo. Thus, mutations in these genes might also enhance transposon excision by a single general mechanism. Alternatively, since mutations in each gene have qualitatively and quantitatively different effects on transposon excision, defects in different mismatch repair genes may enhance excision by different mechanisms.
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