Intron mobility in the T-even phages: high frequency inheritance of group I introns promoted by intron open reading frames. Academic Article uri icon


  • Intron mobility in the T-even phages has been demonstrated. Efficient nonreciprocal conversion of intron minus (In-) alleles to intron plus (In+) occurred for the td and sunY genes, but not for nrdB. Conversion to In+ was absolutely dependent on expression of the respective intron open reading frame (ORF). Introns were inserted at their cognate sites in an intronless phage genome via an RNA-independent, DNA-based, duplicative recombination event that was stimulated by exon homology. The td intron ORF product directs the endonucleolytic cleavage of DNA, targeting the site of intron integration. A 21 nucleotide deletion of the integration site abolished high frequency intron inheritance. These experiments provide a novel example of gene conversion in prokaryotes, while suggesting a molecular rationale for the inconsistent distribution of introns within highly conserved exon contexts of the T-even phage genomes.

publication date

  • February 10, 1989

published in