Summary: The stability of the 2μ-based yeast plasmid pJDB248 in S150-2B(cir°) was investigated in glucose-limited chemostat culture. Plasmid-free cells were detected by loss of (plasmid-encoded) leucine prototrophy and confirmed by colony hybridization. The plasmid was considerably more stable at a high dilution rate (0·12 h) than at a lower dilution rate (0·05 h). The average plasmid copy number in the cells retaining the plasmid remained constant at approximately 50 in the high dilution rate culture whereas it rose to almost 600 in the slow dilution rate culture. However, in both cultures the overall plasmid level in the total population remained constant, indicating that plasmid segregation breaks down at the low growth rate. Similar experiments on the native 2μ plasmid demonstrated high stability and no significant differences between the high and low growth rate cultures. It is postulated that the difference in behaviour between the native and chimeric plasmids is related to an interaction between the growth conditions and the loss of the gene product.


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