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J Bacteriol. 2004 Aug;186(15):5101-15.

Nucleotide sequence and evolution of the five-plasmid complement of the phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola ES4326.

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Department of Botany, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks St., Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada.


Plasmids are transmissible, extrachromosomal genetic elements that are often responsible for environmental or host-specific adaptations. In order to identify the forces driving the evolution of these important molecules, we determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the five-plasmid complement of the radish and Arabidopsis pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola ES4326 and conducted an intraspecific comparative genomic analysis. To date, this is the most complex fully sequenced plasmid complement of any gram-negative bacterium. The plasmid complement comprises two pPT23A-like replicons, pPMA4326A (46,697 bp) and pPMA4326B (40,110 bp); a pPS10-like replicon, pPMA4326C (8,244 bp); and two atypical, replicase-deficient replicons, pPMA4326D (4,833 bp) and pPMA4326E (4,217 bp). A complete type IV secretion system is found on pPMA4326A, while the type III secreted effector hopPmaA is present on pPMA4326B. The region around hopPmaA includes a shorter hopPmaA homolog, insertion sequence (IS) elements, and a three-element cassette composed of a resolvase, an integrase, and an exeA gene that is also present in several human pathogens. We have also identified a novel genetic element (E622) that is present on all but the smallest plasmid (pPMA4326E) that has features of an IS element but lacks an identifiable transposase. This element is associated with virulence-related genes found in a wide range of P. syringae strains. Comparative genomic analyses of these and other P. syringae plasmids suggest a role for recombination and integrative elements in driving plasmid evolution.

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