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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Jun;57(6):1822-1828.

Incompatibility of Lactobacillus Vectors with Replicons Derived from Small Cryptic Lactobacillus Plasmids and Segregational Instability of the Introduced Vectors.

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  • 1TNO Medical Biological Laboratory, P.O. Box 45, 2280 AA Rijswijk, The Netherlands.


Three new Lactobacillus vectors based on cryptic Lactobacillus plasmids were constructed. The shuttle vector pLP3537 consists of a 2.3-kb plasmid from Lactobacillus pentosus MD353, an erythromycin resistance gene from Staphylococcus aureus plasmid pE194, and pUC19 as a replicon for Escherichia coli. The vectors pLPE317 and pLPE323, which do not contain E. coli sequences, were generated by introducing the erythromycin resistance gene of pE194 into a 1.7- and a 2.3-kb plasmid from L. pentosus MD353, respectively. These vectors and the shuttle vector pLP825 (M. Posno, R. J. Leer, J. M. M. van Rijn, B. C. Lokman, and P. H. Pouwels, p. 397-401, in A. T. Ganesan and J. A. Hoch, ed., Genetics and biotechnology of bacilli, vol. 2, 1988) could be introduced by electroporation into Lactobacillus casei, L. pentosus, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, and L. brevis strains with similar efficiencies. Transformation efficiencies were strain dependent and varied from 10 to 10 transformants per mug of DNA. Plasmid DNA analysis of L. pentosus MD353 transformants revealed that the introduction of pLP3537 or pLPE323 was invariably accompanied by loss of the endogenous 2.3-kb plasmid. Remarkably, pLPE317 could only be introduced into an L. pentosus MD353 strain that had been previously cured of its endogenous 1.7-kb plasmid. The curing phenomena are most likely to be explained by the incompatibility of the vectors and resident plasmids. Lactobacillus vectors are generally rapidly lost when cells are cultivated in the absence of selective pressure. However, pLPE323 is stable in three of four Lactobacillus strains tested so far.

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