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Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Apr;38(7):2428-43. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp1226. Epub 2010 Jan 12.

Genome comparison and context analysis reveals putative mobile forms of restriction-modification systems and related rearrangements.

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Department of Medical Genome Sciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


The mobility of restriction-modification (RM) gene complexes and their association with genome rearrangements is a subject of active investigation. Here we conducted systematic genome comparisons and genome context analysis on fully sequenced prokaryotic genomes to detect RM-linked genome rearrangements. RM genes were frequently found to be linked to mobility-related genes such as integrase and transposase homologs. They were flanked by direct and inverted repeats at a significantly high frequency. Insertion by long target duplication was observed for I, II, III and IV restriction types. We found several RM genes flanked by long inverted repeats, some of which had apparently inserted into a genome with a short target duplication. In some cases, only a portion of an apparently complete RM system was flanked by inverted repeats. We also found a unit composed of RM genes and an integrase homolog that integrated into a tRNA gene. An allelic substitution of a Type III system with a linked Type I and IV system pair, and allelic diversity in the putative target recognition domain of Type IIG systems were observed. This study revealed the possible mobility of all types of RM systems, and the diversity in their mobility-related organization.

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