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Plasmid. 1988 May;19(3):231-41.

Instability of recombinant pUB110 plasmids in Bacillus subtilis: plasmid-encoded stability function and effects of DNA inserts.

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Department of Genetics, Center of Biological Sciences, Haren, The Netherlands.


Two series of pUB110-derived plasmids were constructed to study segregational stability in Bacillus subtilis. pEB plasmids were based on the entire pUB110, whereas pLB plasmids lack the membrane-binding areas BA3 and BA4. Two kinds of stability defects were observed. The first was characterized by a strong size dependency and occurred with different inserts at various positions in pLB and pEB plasmids. Size-dependent reductions in plasmid copy numbers appeared to underly this phenomenon. This may render pUB110 unsuitable for the cloning of inserts larger than about 3 kb, in particular if no selective conditions can be applied. The second defect, observed with pLB plasmids, was caused by the absence of the membrane-binding areas BA3 and BA4. Deletion of BA3 resulted in the accumulation of single-stranded plasmid DNA, suggesting that BA3 contains the initiation signal for complementary strand synthesis. The BA3 region is very rich in hyphenated dyad symmetry which, in single-stranded DNA, could result in several stable alternative secondary structures. It is speculated that the activity of the BA3-associated initiation signal contributes to the segregational stability of pUB110-derived plasmids in B. subtilis. The absence of the BA3 stability function could not account for all stability defects observed. Additional stability functions seemed to be located on the BA4 fragment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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