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Gene. 2005 Jun 20;353(1):80-8.

Analysis of chromosomal insertion sites for Bacteroides Tn4555 and the role of TnpA.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 600 Moye Blvd., Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834, USA.


Tn4555, a mobilizable transposon carrying cefoxitin resistance, is directed to a preferred target site in the Bacteroides fragilis chromosome by a transposon-encoded targeting protein TnpA. In an effort to characterize target site selection for Tn4555, the existence of preferred target sites in other species of Bacteroides and in Escherichia coli was examined. For these analyses a Tn4555 mini element, pFD660, was transferred from E. coli donors to Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron or Bacteroides ovatus recipients and the resulting sites of insertion analyzed. A similar construct, pFD794 was used to determine insertion sites in E. coli, and preferred sites were found in all bacteria tested. Also the ability of TnpA to bind to various targets was examined in mobility shift assays. Although TnpA bound to all tested sequences, it displayed higher affinity for the target sites. The binding characteristics of TnpA and the lack of significant base sequence homology between targets suggested that secondary structure of the sites was important for TnpA binding. Circular permutation tests supported the idea that TnpA targets bent DNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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