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Plasmid. 2001 Nov;46(3):210-22.

Genetic organization of the Francisella plasmid pFNL10.

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  • 1State Research Center for Applied Microbiology, Obolensk Moscow Region, 142279, Russia.

Abstract

We report here the molecular characterization of pFNL10, a 3990-bp cryptic plasmid of Francisella novicida-like F6168. The plasmid was maintained in F. novicida Utah 112 and F. tularensis LVS strains. We sequenced the entire plasmid and found six open reading frames (ORFs)-ORF1, ORF2, ORF3, ORF4, ORF5, and ORFm. ORF3, ORF4, ORF5, and ORFm are located on the same strand, and we designated it the plus strand. ORF1 and ORF2 are on the complementary strand. The ORFs appear to be arranged in two operons, one comprising ORF5 and ORF4 and the other ORF1 and ORF2. There exist two distinct promoters similar to the Escherichia coli sigma(70) promoter, one 5' to ORF1-ORF2 operon and the other 5' to ORF5-ORF4 operon. We found that in both promoters the transcriptional start is an adenosine. ORF3 is positioned in tandem with ORF5-ORF4, but has its own transcriptional start, a thymidine. However, sequence analysis revealed no recognizable promoter in physical proximity to ORF3. Sequence analysis revealed transcriptional terminators immediately downstream of the two operons. Experimental results showed that the ORF1-ORF2 terminator is authentic. But we could not definitively confirm the ORF5-ORF4 terminator. Two sets of direct repeats, one 31 and the other 13 bp, characteristic of ori are positioned between the two promoters. ORF1 encodes a protein that bears homology to the replication initiation protein RepA of various bacteria, and disruption of this ORF indeed blocked pFNL10 replication. In contrast, ORF2 disruption caused formation of plasmid multimers, suggesting aberrant replication. Our analysis also suggests that pFNL10 replicates by the theta mode. The ORF5-ORF4 operon resembles the phd-doc operon of Escherichia coli bacteriophage P1, but the significance of this similarity is unclear.

Copyright 2001 Elsevier Science.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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