- We successively subcloned the dnaE gene of Escherichia coli into pBR322, resulting in a plasmid that contains 4.6 kilobases of E. coli DNA. This plasmid can complement a dnaE temperature-sensitive mutation. A restriction map of the dnaE gene and the surrounding 10.7-kilobase region of the E. coli chromosome was determined. A unique HindIII restriction endonuclease site within the cloned segment of DNA was identified as a site required for expression of the dnaE gene. By using the maxicell plasmid-directed protein synthesizing system, we demonstrated that dnaE codes for the alpha subunit of DNA polymerase III.