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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Oct;34(2):385-94.

Transposition genes of the Bacteroides mobilizable transposon Tn4555: role of a novel targeting gene.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Moye Blvd., Greenville, NC 27848-4354, USA.


Conjugative transposons have been identified in several bacterial species, most notably the Gram-positive Enterococci and the Gram-negative Bacteroides. In Bacteroides species, these elements encode a complete conjugative machinery, which mediates their own intercellular transfer, and they can mobilize in trans co-resident elements. One such mobilizable element is the antibiotic resistance transposon, Tn4555, which was previously found to integrate into a specific genome target site via a site-specific recombination mechanism. In this work, we demonstrate that three Tn4555 genes were involved in integration of the element. These were int encoding a lambda-type integrase, which was absolutely required for integration of the transposon, and two accessory genes, which increased the frequency of integration. Interestingly, one of these accessory gene products, TnpA, directed the insertion of Tn4555 into the genome target site; in the absence of tnpA, the insertion pattern was essentially random. This is the first example of a site-specific recombinase that uses a specific targeting protein.

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