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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Sep;33(5):1059-68.

Tn5053 family transposons are res site hunters sensing plasmidal res sites occupied by cognate resolvases.

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Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 123182, Russia.


DNA sequence database search revealed that most of Tn5053/Tn402 family transposons inserted into natural plasmids were located in putative res regions upstream of genes encoding various resolvase-like proteins. Some of these resolvase genes belonged to Tn3 family transposons and were closely related to the tnpR genes of Tn1721 and a recently detected Tn5044. Using recombinant plasmids containing fragments of Tn1721 or Tn5044 as targets in transposition experiments, we have demonstrated that Tn5053 displays striking insertional preference for the res regions of these transposons: more than 70% of Tn5053 insertion events occur in clusters inside the target res regions, while most remaining insertion events occur no further than 200 base pairs away from both sides of the res regions. We demonstrate that Tn5053 insertions (both into and outside a res region of the target plasmid) require the presence of a functional cognate resolvase gene either in cis or in trans. To our knowledge, this is the first case when a site-specific recombination system outside a transposon has been shown to be involved in transposition.

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