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Plasmid. 2011 Mar;65(2):159-68. doi: 10.1016/j.plasmid.2010.12.002. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Functional analysis of the finO distal region of plasmid R1.

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  • 1University of Graz, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Humboldtstrasse 50, A-8010 Graz, Austria.


The intergenic region linking conjugative transfer and replication copy control modules of IncF plasmids shows conservation of gene homology and organization. Genes distal to finO are coordinately expressed with the upstream transfer operon encoding the majority of conjugation genes in related plasmids. Here we investigate potential functions for these genes in copy number control and in processes related to conjugation: gene transfer, pilus specific phage infection and plasmid-promoted biofilm formation by an Escherichia coli host. We find that insertional inactivation of genes in the finO distal region reduced transcriptional read through into the downstream copB gene of plasmid R1. The mutant plasmid derivatives exhibited a reduced copy number compared to the wild type. Moreover all insertion mutant derivatives of plasmid R1-16 with aberrantly low copy numbers conferred poor biofilm forming ability to their hosts. The general mutagenesis thus identified plasmid stability genes as the only plasmid functions besides conjugation genes linked to plasmid-promoted biofilm production under these laboratory conditions. Our findings imply that a novel component of cis- or trans-regulation on the transcriptional level is important to normal R1 plasmid copy number regulation.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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