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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Nov 30;428(4):445-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.10.098. Epub 2012 Nov 3.

Genome-wide screen for Escherichia coli genes involved in repressing cell-to-cell transfer of non-conjugative plasmids.

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  • 1Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Nara Women's University, Kitauoya-nishimachi, Nara 630-8506, Japan.


Acquiring new genetic traits by lateral gene transfer is a bacterial strategy for environment adaptation. We previously showed that Escherichia coli could laterally transmit non-conjugative plasmids in co-cultures containing strains with and without the plasmid. In this study, using the Keio collection, a comprehensive library of E. coli knock-out mutants for non-essential genes, we screened for genes responsible for repressing cell-to-cell plasmid transfer in recipient cells. By stepwise screening, we identified 55 'transfer-up' mutants that exhibited approximately 2- to 30-fold increased activities. We confirmed plasmid acquisition by these 'up' mutants and revealed that there were no significant changes in antibiotic resistance in the original Keio strains. The presumed functions of these gene products covered a wide range of activities, including metabolism and synthesis, transport, transcription or translation and others. Two competence-gene homologues (ybaV and yhiR) were identified from among these genes. The presumed localizations of these 55 gene products were estimated to be 34 cytoplasmic proteins, 20 in or around the cell surface and 1 unknown location. Our results suggest that these 55 genes may be involved in repressing plasmid uptake during cell-to-cell plasmid transfer.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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