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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jan;31(2):609-21.

Regulation of excision of the conjugative transposon Tn916.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University Health Sciences Center, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Excision from the donor DNA molecule is the first step in conjugative transposition of Tn916 and is followed by circularization of the transposon and its transfer to a new host. We have demonstrated that, in Gram-positive hosts, the Xis protein, as well as the site-specific recombinase Int, is required for the excision of Tn916. Using assays for closure of the excised covalently closed transposon and for repair of the donor DNA molecule, we found that neither protein alone is rate limiting for excision, but overexpression of Int and Xis together results in increased excision. After excision, the frequency of Tn916 circle formation was found to be the same as the frequency of repair of the donor DNA molecule. This suggests that a single reaction results in the closure of both molecules. We have also identified two transcripts that encode Int, one of which also encodes Xis and one of which does not, suggesting that there are steps in conjugative transposition of Tn916 that require Int without Xis.

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