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J Bacteriol. 1995 Nov;177(22):6644-51.

A functional origin of transfer (oriT) on the conjugative transposon Tn916.

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Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


The origin of transfer (oriT) of the 18-kb conjugative transposon Tn916 has been localized to a 466-bp region which spans nucleotides 15215 to 15681 on the transposon map. The oriT lies within an intercistronic region between open reading frames ORF20 and ORF21 that contains six sets of inverted repeats ranging from 10 to 20 bp in size. The segment contains three sequences showing identity in 9 of 12 bp to the consensus nicking site (nic) of the IncP family of conjugative plasmids found in gram-negative bacteria. Overlapping one of these sequences is a region similar to the nic site of the F plasmid. Functionality was based on the ability of the oriT-containing sequence to provide a cis-acting mobilization of chimeras involving the shuttle vector pWM401 in response to activation in trans by an intact chromosome-borne transposon Tn916 delta E. Cloned segments of 466 or 376 nucleotides resulted in unselected cotransfer of the plasmid at levels of about 40% when selection was for Tn916 delta E, whereas a 110-bp segment resulted in cotransfer at a frequency of about 7%. Mobilization was specific in that gram-positive plasmids, such as pAD1 and pAM beta 1, and the gram-negative plasmids pOX38 (a derivative of F) and RP1 did not mobilize oriT-containing chimeras.

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