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Plasmid. 2008 Mar;59(2):73-85. doi: 10.1016/j.plasmid.2007.12.003. Epub 2008 Jan 31.

Comparative analysis of eight Arthrobacter plasmids.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054, USA.


Despite the prevalence of Arthrobacter in the environment little is known about their plasmids, or the capacity of Arthrobacter plasmids to mediate horizontal gene transfer. In this study, we compared eight plasmids from five Arthrobacter strains in order to identify putative core maintenance genes for replication, segregation, and conjugation. Iteron like sequences were identified on some of the plasmids; however, no genes with obvious similarity to known replication sequences such as an origin of replication, or rep genes were identified. All eight plasmids contained a putative conjugation system. Genes with similarity to a relaxase, coupling protein, and various components of a type IV secretion system were identified on each plasmid; it appears that three different systems may be present. Putative parA partitioning genes were found in all of the plasmids. Each of the Arthrobacter strains examined contained a putative parB gene; however, of the three plasmids in Arthrobacter strain FB24 only one plasmid had a putative parB gene. Cluster analysis of many of the Arthrobacter genes suggested that they often formed branches within existing families of plasmid maintenance genes. Comparison of a concatenation of all the maintenance genes from each plasmid suggests that the eight Arthrobacter plasmids represent multiple evolutionary pathways.

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