The relative ability of the 10 triplet repeat sequences to be expanded in Escherichia coli was determined. Surprisingly, CTG tracts are expanded at least 8 times more frequently than any of the other nine triplets. Low levels of expansion were found also for CGG, GTG, and GTC. Thus, the structure of the CTG repeats and/or their utilization by the DNA synthetic systems in vivo must be quite different from the other triplets. These data further validate this genetically defined system for elucidating molecular mechanisms of expansion and may explain why most triplet repeat hereditary neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disease genes contain CTG repeats.
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