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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Jul;6(14):1933-41.

Evasion of type I and type II DNA restriction systems by IncI1 plasmid CoIIb-P9 during transfer by bacterial conjugation.

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Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, UK.


Transmission of unmodified plasmid CoIIb-P9 by bacterial conjugation is markedly resistant to restriction compared with transfer by transformation. One process allowing evasion of type I and II restriction systems involves conjugative transfer of multiple copies of the plasmid. A more specialized evasion mechanism requires the Ard (alleviation of restriction of DNA) system encoded by CoIIb. The ard gene is transferred early in conjugation and specifically alleviates DNA restriction by all known families of type I enzyme, including EcoK. CoIIb has no effect on EcoK modification but this activity is impaired by multicopy recombinant plasmids supporting overexpression of ard. Genetic evidence shows that Ard protects CoIIb from EcoK restriction following conjugative transfer and that this protection requires expression of the gene on the immigrant plasmid. It is proposed that carriage of ard facilitates transfer of CoIIb between its natural enterobacterial hosts and that the route of DNA entry is important to the restriction-evasion mechanism.

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