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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Nov;14(4):655-68.

Common ancestry between IncN conjugal transfer genes and macromolecular export systems of plant and animal pathogens.

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Section of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.


The DNA sequence of a cluster of pKM101 conjugal transfer genes was determined and aligned with the genetic map of the plasmid. Eighteen genes were identified, at least eight and probably 11 of which are required for efficient conjugation. These tra genes are homologous to and colinear with genes found in the virB operon of Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmids. Seven pKM101 tra genes are also homologous to ptl genes of Bordetella pertussis, which direct the export of pertussis toxin. We used TnphoA to construct translational fusions between pKM101 genes and the Escherichia coli phoA gene, which encodes alkaline phosphatase, and provide evidence that at least 11 of the 18 genes are either fully or partially exported from the cytoplasm.

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