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J Bacteriol. 1997 Oct;179(19):6107-11.

Homing of a group II intron from Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis ML3.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455-0312, USA.


Ll.ltrB is a functional group II intron located within a gene (ltrB) encoding a conjugative relaxase essential for transfer of the lactococcal element pRSO1. In this work, the Ll.ltrB intron was shown to be an independent mobile element capable of inserting into an intronless allele of the ltrB gene. Ll.ltrB was not observed to insert into a deletion derivative of the ltrB gene in which the intron splice site was removed. In contrast, a second vector containing a 271-nucleotide segment of ltrB spanning the Ll.ltrB splice site was shown to be a proficient recipient of intron insertion. Efficient homing was observed in the absence of a functional host homologous recombination system. This work demonstrates that the Ll.ltrB intron is a novel site-specific mobile element in lactococci and that group II intron self-transfer is a mechanism for intron dissemination among bacteria.

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