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J Bacteriol. 1985 Dec;164(3):1248-55.

Tn4400, a compound transposon isolated from Bacteroides fragilis, functions in Escherichia coli.


Transfer factor pBFTM10, isolated from the obligate anaerobic bacterium Bacteroides fragilis, carries a clindamycin resistance determinant which we have suggested is part of a transposable element. DNA homologous to this determinant is found in many Clnr Bacteroides isolates, either in the chromosome or on plasmids. We have now established that Ccr resides on a transposon, Tn4400. In addition to the Ccr determinant that functions under anaerobic conditions in B. fragilis, Tn4400 also carries a determinant for tetracycline resistance (Tcr) which only functions in Escherichia coli under aerobic conditions. The presence of Tn4400 on pBFTM10 does not confer tetracycline resistance on B. fragilis cells containing it. DNA from pBFTM10 was cloned in E. coli, with pDG5 as the cloning vector, to form pGAT500. Using a mobilization assay involving pGAT500 and an F factor derivative, pOX38, we determined that a 5.6-kilobase region of pBFTM10 DNA was capable of mediating replicon fusion and transposition. Most of the mobilization products resulted from inverse transposition reactions, while some were the result of true cointegrate formation. Analysis of the cointegrate molecules showed that three were formed by the action of one of the ends of Tn4400 (IS4400), and one was formed by the action of the whole element (Tn4400). The cointegrate molecule carrying intact copies of Tn4400 at the junction of the two plasmids could resolve to yield an unaltered donor plasmid (pGAT500) and a conjugal plasmid containing a copy of Tn4400 or a copy of one insertion sequence element (pOX38::Tn4400 or pOX38::IS4400). Thus, Tn4400 is a compound transposon containing active insertion sequence elements as directly repeated sequences at its ends.

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