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Annu Rev Genet. 1999;33:171-91.

Shufflons: multiple inversion systems and integrons.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan.


Conservative site-specific recombination functions to create biological diversity in prokaryotes. Simple site-specific recombination systems consist of two recombination sites and a recombinase gene. The plasmid R64 shufflon contains seven recombination sites, which flank and separate four DNA segments. Site-specific recombinations mediated by the product of the rci gene between any two inverted recombination sites result in the inversion of four DNA segments independently or in groups. The shufflon functions as a biological switch to select one of seven C-terminal segments of the PilV proteins, which is a minor component of R64 thin pilus. The shufflon determines the recipient specificity in liquid matings of plasmid R64. Other multiple inversion systems as well as integrons, which are multiple insertion systems, are also described in this review.

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