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Plasmid. 2005 Sep;54(2):114-34. Epub 2005 Mar 2.

Characterization of pES213, a small mobilizable plasmid from Vibrio fischeri.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.

Abstract

Most Vibrio fischeri strains isolated from the Euprymna scolopes light organ carry plasmids, often including both a large (>40kb) plasmid, and one or more small (<12kb) plasmids. The large plasmids share homology with pES100, which is the lone plasmid in V. fischeri type strain ES114. pES100 appears to encode a conjugative system similar to that on plasmid R721. The small plasmids lack extensive similarity to pES100, but they almost always occur in cells that also harbor a large plasmid resembling pES100. We found that many or all of these small plasmids share homology with pES213, a plasmid in strain ES213. We determined the 5501-bp pES213 sequence and generated selectable antibiotic resistance encoding pES213 derivatives, which enabled us to examine replication, retention, and transfer in V. fischeri. An 863-bp fragment of pES213 with features characteristic of theta-type replicons conferred replication without requiring any pES213 open reading frame (ORF). We estimated that pES213 derivatives were maintained at 9.4 copies per genome, which corresponds well with a model of random plasmid segregation to daughter cells and the approximately 10(-4) per generation frequency of plasmid loss. pES213 derivatives mobilized between V. fischeri strains at frequencies up to approximately 10(-4) in culture and in the host, apparently by employing the pES100 conjugative apparatus. pES213 carries two homologs of the putative pES100 origin of transfer (oriT), and V. fischeri strains lacking the pES100 conjugative relaxase, including a relaxase mutant, failed to serve as donors for transmission of pES213 derivatives. In other systems, genes directing conjugative transfer can function in trans to oriT, so it was noteworthy that ORFs adjacent to oriT, VFB51 in pES100 and traYZ in pES213, enhanced transfer 100- to 1000-fold when provided in cis. We also identified and disrupted the V. fischeri recA gene. RecA was not required for stable pES213 replication but surprisingly was required in donors for efficient transfer of pES213 derivatives. These studies provide an explanation for the prevalence and co-occurrence of pES100- and pES213-type plasmids, illuminate novel elements of pES213 mobilization, and provide the foundation for new genetic tools in V. fischeri.

PMID:
16122560
DOI:
10.1016/j.plasmid.2005.01.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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