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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Feb;6(3):345-54.

Retron-Ec107 is inserted into the Escherichia coli genome by replacing a palindromic 34bp intergenic sequence.

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Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Rutgers, Piscataway 08854.


Some natural isolates of Escherichia coli have been shown to produce a unique branched RNA-linked single-stranded DNA called msDNA. These bacteria contain a retro-element called retron consisting of the msr-msd region and the gene for reverse transcriptase (RT). All three E. coli retrons characterized to date have been shown to be integrated into a prophage or to be associated with phage-related genes. In this report, we identified a new msDNA from an E. coli wild strain. Using the msDNA as a probe, the retron for the msDNA was cloned and its DNA sequence was determined. The retron was found to consist of a 1.3kb DNA fragment, making it the smallest retron isolated to date. The msDNA produced from the retron consists of a 107 base single-stranded DNA, which is considered to be branched out from the 18th G residue of a 75-base RNA molecule by a 2',5'-phosphodiester linkage. Thus, the msDNA and the retron were designated msDNA-Ec107 and retron-Ec107, respectively. Most significantly, retron-Ec107 was inserted into the E. coli genome by replacing a 34bp intergenic sequence between the pyrE and ttk genes located at 82 min on the E. coli chromosome. Interestingly, the retron contains palindromic structures at both ends and the E. coli 34bp intergenic sequence also contains a 10bp inverted repeat structure. These palindromic structures might have played a role in the integration of retron-Ec107 into the E. coli genome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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