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J Bacteriol. 1996 Jun;178(11):3232-7.

Sequence of plasmid pGT5 from the archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi: evidence for rolling-circle replication in a hyperthermophile.

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  • 1Station Biologique de Roscoff, UPR 9042 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Universit√© Paris-Sud, France.


The plasmid pGT5 (3,444 bp) from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi GE5 has been completely sequenced. Two major open reading frames with a good coding probability are located on the same strand and cover 85% of the total sequence. The larger open reading frame encodes a putative polypeptide which exhibits sequence similarity with Rep proteins of plasmids using the rolling-circle mechanism for replication. Upstream of this open reading frame, we have detected an 11-bp motif identical to the double-stranded origin of several bacterial plasmids that replicate via the rolling-circle mechanism. A putative single-stranded origin exhibits similarities both to bacterial primosome-dependent single-stranded initiation sites and to bacterial primase (dnaG) start sites. A single-stranded form of pGT5 corresponding to the plus strand was detected in cells of P. abyssi. These data indicate that pGT5 replicates via the rolling-circle mechanism and suggest that members of the domain Archaea contain homologs of several bacterial proteins involved in chromosomal DNA replication. Phylogenetic analysis of Rep proteins from rolling-circle replicons suggest that diverse families diverged before the separation of the domains Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya.

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