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Virology. 1998 Oct 10;250(1):185-93.

The site-specific recombination system of the Lactobacillus species bacteriophage A2 integrates in gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

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Area de MicrobiologĂ­a, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, E-33006, Spain.


The region of the bacteriophage A2 genome involved in site-specific recombination with the DNA of Lactobacillus spp. has been identified. Two orfs, transcribed from the same strand, have been found immediately upstream of the phage attachment site (attP). The orf adjacent to attP predicts a 385-amino-acid protein that presents significant similarity with site-specific recombinases of the integrase family. The other orf encodes a basic polypeptide of 76 amino acid residues. The junctions of the prophage with the genomes of its hosts have been determined, allowing the identification of the host attachment site (attB), which has a common 19-nucleotide core region with attP. The attB site is located at the 3' end of the transfer RNALeu gene (anticodon CAA). Nonreplicative plasmids containing the A2-specific recombination cassette integrate into different lactobacilli but also into unrelated Gram-positive bacteria such as Lactococcus lactis and even into Escherichia coli. In Lc. lactis, integration occurs in a previously unknown intergenic region, whereas in E. coli, it maps within the rrnD operon, 5' of rrsD gene. Comparison of the integration sites in the different hosts indicates that some flexibility is permitted in the attB sequence, since Lc. lactis and E. coli only share 13 and 11 nucleotides, respectively, with the 19-nucleotide core sequence of the lactobacilli.

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