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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Sep;37(6):1283-92.

Interaction between the RP4 coupling protein TraG and the pBHR1 mobilization protein Mob.

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Laboratoire de Génétique des Procaryotes, Institut de Biologie et de Médecine Moléculaires, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 12, Rue Prof. Jeener et Brachet, B-6041 Gosselies, Belgium.


It is currently believed that interaction between the relaxosome of a mobilizable plasmid and the transfer machinery of the helper conjugative plasmid is mediated by a TraG family coupling protein. The coupling proteins appear as an essential determinant of mobilization specificity and efficiency. Using a two-hybrid system, we demonstrated for the first time the direct in vivo interaction between the coupling protein of a conjugative plasmid (the TraG protein of RP4) and the relaxase of a mobilizable plasmid (the Mob protein of pBHR1, a derivative of the broad host range plasmid pBBR1). This interaction was confirmed in vitro by an overlay assay and was shown to occur even in the absence of the transfer origin of pBHR1. We showed that, among 11 conjugative plasmids tested, pBHR1 is efficiently mobilized only by plasmids encoding an IncP-type transfer system. We also showed that the RP4 TraG coupling protein is essential for mobilization of a pBBR1 derivative and is the element that allows its mobilization by R388 plasmid (IncW) at a detectable frequency.

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