Azure Mutants: A Type of Host-Dependent Mutant of the Bacteriophage f2

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Science  23 Jun 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3782, pp. 1618-1623
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3782.1618


A new type of host-dependent mutant, azure mutant, of bacteriophage f2 has been isolated. Growth of these mutants was restricted specifically by amber suppressor genes in the host bacteria. Restriction of the formation of infective centers by different bacterial suppressor genes was 98 percent, 90 percent, and 70 percent with Su-3, Su-1, and Su-2 genes, respectively. Restriction, like suppression, was the dominant phenotype. The block in growth of the mutants occurred in an early stage of the infection cycle. Once infection was established, however, an infected cell produced approximately the same number of progeny phage as a cell without the suppressor genes did. It is proposed that the azure codon is the same as the amber codon (uracil, adenine, guanine) and that restriction results from improper termination of protein chains of the phage RNA polymerase. Similar mutants may exist in other systems.