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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Aug;62(8):2961-5.

Distribution of class II transposase and resolvase genes in soil bacteria and their association with mer genes.

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Department of Genetics and Microbiology, Donnan Laboratories, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.


Southern hybridization was performed on 30 gram-negative, mercury-resistant soil bacteria isolated from three terrestrail sites in Great Britain; two of these sites were mercury polluted (SO and SE), and one was pristine (SB). Most of the isolates (20 of 30) hybridized to probes encoding regions of the transposase (tnpA) and resolvase (tnpR) genes from Tn501 and Tn21. Isolates SE9 and SB3 hybridized to the Tn21 but not the Tn501 tnpA probe; however, they differed in that SB3 hybridized to both Tn501 and Tn21 tnpR probes while SE9 did not hybridize to either tnpR probe. The remaining isolates (7 of 30) did not hybridize to any of the transposon gene probes under the conditions used. tnpA and tnpR regions were PCR amplified from most of the hybridizing isolates and from Tn501 and Tn21, and variation was assessed by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. On the basis of these data, tnpA regions were divided into eight restriction fragment length polymorphism classes and tnpR regions were divided into five classes. Similarity coefficients were calculated between classes and used to construct dendrograms showing percent similarity. A compilation of the data from this study on tnpA and tnpR regions and a previous study on merRT delta P regions (A. M. Osborn, K. D. Bruce, P. Strike, and D. A. Ritchie, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 59:4024-4030, 1993) indicates the presence of hybrid transposons and provides evidence for extensive recombination, both between transposon genes and between transposon and mer genes, within these natural populations of bacteria.

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