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J Bacteriol. 1993 Jul;175(13):4250-4.

Diversity of retron elements in a population of rhizobia and other gram-negative bacteria.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996-0845.


Genetic elements called retrons reside on the chromosome of Escherichia coli and the myxobacteria and represent the first reverse transcriptase-encoding element to be found in a prokaryotic cell. All known retrons produce a functionally obscure RNA-DNA satellite molecule called multicopy single-stranded DNA (msDNA). We report here the presence of msDNA-producing retron elements in a number of new bacterial groups, including strains of the genera Proteus, Klebsiella, Salmonella, Nannocystis, Rhizobium, and Bradyrhizobium. Among a population of 63 rhizobia strains, only 16% contain a retron element. The rhizobia retrons appear to be heterogeneous in nucleotide sequence and show little similarity to previously studied retrons of E. coli and the myxobacteria.

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