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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Jul;53(2):457-67.

IS231-MIC231 elements from Bacillus cereus sensu lato are modular.

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  • 1Laboratory of Food and Environmental Microbiology, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/12, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. depalmenaer@mbla.ucl.ac.be


Summary IS231A was originally discovered in Bacillus thuringiensis as a typical 1.6 kb insertion sequence (IS) displaying 20 bp inverted repeats (IR) flanking a transposase gene. A first major variation of this canonical organization was found in MIC231A1. This mobile insertion cassette (MIC), delineated by IS231A-related extremities, contained an active d-stereospecific endopeptidase (adp) gene instead of a transposase. Interestingly, it was shown that MIC231A1 can be mobilized in trans by the IS231A transposase. In this paper, we show that this family of IS231-MIC231 elements can be extended to a broad range of related entities displaying higher levels of structural complexity. Several IS231A-like elements contained, upstream of their transposase gene, passenger genes coding for putative antibiotic resistances or regulatory factors. Furthermore, the diversity of the MIC231 elements ranged from empty cassettes to structures carrying up to three passenger genes. Among these, MIC231V carried, in addition to an adp gene, an active fosfomycin resistance determinant. In vivo transposition assays showed that MIC231V is also trans-activated by the IS231A transposase. These results lend further support to the potential contribution of these modular mobile elements to the genome plasticity of the Bacillus cereus/B. thuringiensis group.

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