Send to

Choose Destination
Plasmid. 2009 Mar;61(2):94-109. doi: 10.1016/j.plasmid.2008.11.004. Epub 2009 Jan 6.

The RepA_N replicons of Gram-positive bacteria: a family of broadly distributed but narrow host range plasmids.

Author information

Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA.


The pheromone-responsive conjugative plasmids of Enterococcus faecalis and the multiresistance plasmids pSK1 and pSK41 of Staphylococcus aureus are among the best studied plasmids native to Gram-positive bacteria. Although these plasmids seem largely restricted to their native hosts, protein sequence comparison of their replication initiator proteins indicates that they are clearly related. Homology searches indicate that these replicons are representatives of a large family of plasmids and a few phage that are widespread among the low G+C Gram-positive bacteria. We propose to name this family the RepA_N family of replicons after the annotated conserved domain that the initiator protein contains. Detailed sequence comparisons indicate that the initiator protein phylogeny is largely congruent with that of the host, suggesting that the replicons have evolved along with their current hosts and that intergeneric transfer has been rare. However, related proteins were identified on chromosomal regions bearing characteristics indicative of ICE elements, and the phylogeny of these proteins displayed evidence of more frequent intergeneric transfer. Comparison of stability determinants associated with the RepA_N replicons suggests that they have a modular evolution as has been observed in other plasmid families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center