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J Bacteriol. 1986 Aug;167(2):647-54.

DNA environment of the aerobactin iron uptake system genes in prototypic ColV plasmids.


The aerobactin iron uptake system genes in the prototypic plasmid pColV-K30 are flanked by inverted copies of insertion sequence IS1 and by two distinct replication regions. To address the question of how these flanking regions may facilitate the maintenance and spread of the aerobactin system among the plasmids and chromosomes of enteric species, we investigated the DNA environment of 12 ColV plasmids. We found that the aerobactin system-specific genes are conserved in every plasmid phenotypically positive for the aerobactin system. The upstream IS1 and its overlapping replication region (REPI) are also conserved. This replication region was cloned from several ColV plasmids and found to be functional by transforming these cloned derivatives into a polA bacterial host. In contrast, the downstream flanking region is variable. This includes the downstream copy of IS1 and the downstream replication region (REPII). We infer from these results that sequences in addition to the two flanking copies of IS1, in particular the upstream region including REPI, have been instrumental in the preservation and possible spread of aerobactin genes among ColV plasmids and other members of the FI incompatibility group.

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