Recombinational switch for gene expression

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Science  08 Apr 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4286, pp. 170-172
DOI: 10.1126/science.322276


Flagellar antigens are specified by two genes, H1 and H2. The expression of these genes is regulated such that only one gene activity, or phase, is expressed at a given time. Molecular cloning techniques were used to isolate the segments of Salmonella DNA which contain these genetic loci. Heteroduplex analyses revealed an anomaly in the cloned fragment, that is, and apparent inversion, which was shown to be adjacent to the H2 gene. A correlation was demonstrated between the phase state of the H2 gene and the sequence of the adjacent segment. We propose that an inversion of this region is the phase-determining event in flagellar gene expression in Salmonella.

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