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Res Microbiol. 1997 Dec;148(9):767-75.

Isolation of new plasmids from hyperthermophilic Archaea of the order Thermococcales.

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Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, URA 1354 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.


A collection of 57 strains of hyperthermophilic Archaea from the order Thermococcales was screened for the presence of plasmids; 9 plasmids present in six of these strains were isolated and characterized in terms of size and cross-hybridization. The Notl macrorestriction patterns of genomic DNA of strains harbouring these plasmids were obtained. Pyrococcus abyssi strains GE27 and GE23 as well as Thermococcus sp. GE31 contained a single plasmid of 3.5 kb (pGN27), 16.8 kb (pGN23) and 5.3 kb (pGN31), respectively, whilst the three strains I559, I560 and I690 all contained two plasmids of 3.5 kb (pSN559, pSN560, pSN690) and 24 kb (pLN559, pLN560, pLN690), respectively. Plasmid pGN27 strongly cross-hybridized with the previously described plasmid pGT5 from P. abyssi strain GE5, whilst plasmids pGN23 and pGN31 did not cross-hybridize with each other, nor with any other plasmid. The three small plasmids of strains I559, I560 and I690 cross-hybridized, as well as their three large plasmids. Macrorestriction pattern analysis and the results of plasmid cross-hybridization experiments indicated that these three strains were different but closely related, and likely belonged to the genus Thermococcus. This study shows that plasmids are widespread in hyperthermophilic archaea, and significantly increases the number and diversity of plasmids available for laboratory work.

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