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J Bacteriol. 2001 Oct;183(19):5472-81.

Multiple origins and replication proteins influence biological properties of beta-lactamase-producing plasmids from Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5.


The beta-lactamase-producing Asia-type plasmid pJD4 of Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a 7.4-kb, broad-host-range plasmid. It is part of a family of plasmids which are structurally related yet vary in size, found in both N. gonorrhoeae and Haemophilus ducreyi. Branch-point analysis by electron microscopy indicates that pJD4 carries three clustered but distinguishable origins of replication, which we named ori1, ori2, and ori3. Although pJD4 belongs to incompatibility (Inc) group W, it also carries a silent IncFII determinant which is expressed when ori2 and ori3 are absent. The Africa-type plasmid pJD5, a naturally occurring deletion derivative of pJD4, carries only ori1, belongs to the IncFII group, and, in contrast to pJD4, requires DNA polymerase I (Pol I) for replication. Plasmids constructed from pJD4 which lack ori1 but carry ori2 and ori3 do not require Pol I and are incompatible with IncW plasmids, suggesting that the ori2 or ori3 region contains the IncW determinant. We have cloned a replication initiation protein (RepB) that is necessary for ori2 and ori3 to function. This Rep protein is distinct from RepA, which is necessary for ori1. Thus, pJD4 is unique because it is the smallest plasmid characterized containing three origins of replication and two unique Rep proteins.

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