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J Bacteriol. 1988 May;170(5):2126-35.

Duplication insertion of drug resistance determinants in the radioresistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans.

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Department of Pathology, F. E. Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.


Escherichia coli drug resistance plasmids were introduced into Deinococcus radiodurans by cloning D. radiodurans DNA into the plasmids prior to transformation. The plasmids were integrated into the chromosome of the transformants and flanked by a direct repeat of the cloned D. radiodurans segment. The plasmid and one copy of the flanking chromosomal segment constituted a unit ("amplification unit") which was found repeated in tandem at the site of chromosomal integration. Up to 50 copies of the amplification unit were present per chromosome, accounting for approximately 10% of the genomic DNA. Circular forms of the amplification unit were also present in D. radiodurans transformants. These circles were introduced into E. coli, where they replicated as plasmids. The drug resistance determinants which have been introduced into D. radiodurans in this fashion are cat (from Tn9) and aphA (from Tn903). Transformation of D. radiodurans to drug resistance was efficient when the donor DNA was from D. radiodurans or E. coli, but was greatly reduced when the donor DNA was linearized with restriction enzymes prior to transformation. In the course of the study, a plasmid, pS16, was discovered in D. radiodurans R1, establishing that all Deinococcus strains so far examined contain plasmids.

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