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Malondialdehyde induces frameshift mutations in Salmonella typhimurium strain hisD3052. The ability of propanodeoxyguanosine (PdG), a structural analog of the major malondialdehyde-deoxyguanosine adduct, to induce site-specific frameshift mutations was tested in the (CpG)4 hot-spot of hisD3052 carried on an M13 vector (M13MB102). PdG was introduced at position 6248 of duplex M13MB102 by ligation of the oligonucleotide 5'-CGC(PdG)CGGCATG-3' into a heteroduplex containing an 11-nucleotide gap in the (-)-strand between the SphI and BssHII restriction sites and deoxyuridine in place of thymidine in the (+)-strand. Ligation proceeded with 70% efficiency, and closed circular duplex DNA molecules were isolated in 40% yield. The adducted genome was sensitive to cleavage by SphI but resistant to cleavage by BssHII. Transformation of Escherichia coli strain JM105 with adducted M13MB102 led to 25% reduced survival relative to unadducted M13MB102 and produced frameshift mutations in 2.5% of the progeny phage. All of the mutations were deletions, and 70% occurred by deletion of CpG. Unadducted genomes exhibited a 40-fold lower mutation frequency, and all the mutations were single-base deletions at the sites of ligation of the 11-mer. These results illustrate that PdG, a structural analog of the major malondialdehyde-deoxyguanosine adduct, induces frameshift mutations in M13MB102 and that single-stranded nicks are efficient premutagenic lesions in this recombinant bacteriophage.