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Genetics. 1999 Aug;152(4):1307-14.

Molecular analysis of pDL10 from Acidianus ambivalens reveals a family of related plasmids from extremely thermophilic and acidophilic archaea.

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Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Darmstadt University of Technology, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany.


The 7598-bp plasmid pDL10 from the extremely thermophilic, acidophilic, and chemolithoautotrophic Archaeon Acidianus ambivalens was sequenced. It contains 10 open reading frames (ORFs) organized in five putative operons. The deduced amino acid sequence of the largest ORF (909 aa) showed similarity to bacterial Rep proteins known from phages and plasmids with rolling-circle (RC) replication. From the comparison of the amino acid sequences, a novel family of RC Rep proteins was defined. The pDL10 Rep protein shared 45-80% identical residues with homologous protein genes encoded by the Sulfolobus islandicus plasmids pRN1 and pRN2. Two DNA regions capable of forming extended stem-loop structures were also conserved in the three plasmids (48-69% sequence identity). In addition, a putative plasmid regulatory protein gene (plrA) was found, which was conserved among the three plasmids and the conjugative Sulfolobus plasmid pNOB8. A homolog of this gene was also found in the chromosome of S. solfataricus. Single-stranded DNA of both pDL10 strands was detected with a mung bean nuclease protection assay using PCR detection of protected fragments, giving additional evidence for an RC mechanism of replication.

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