, Volume 93, Issue 1-3, pp 13-26

IS231 and otherBacillus thuringiensis transposable elements: A review

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Abstract

Bacillus thuringiensis is an entomopathogenic bacterium whose toxicity is due to the presence in the sporangia of δ-endotoxin crystals active against agricultural pests and vectors of human and animal diseases. Most of the genes coding for these toxin proteins are plasmid-borne and are generally structurally associated with insertion sequences (IS231, IS232, IS240, ISBT1 and ISBT2) and transposons (Tn4430 and Tn5401). Several of these mobile elements have been shown to be active and are believed to participate in the crystal gene mobility, thereby contributing to the variation of bacterial toxicity. Structural analysis of the iso-IS231 elements indicates that they are related to IS1151 fromClostridium perfringens and distantly related to IS4 and IS186 fromEscherichia coli. Like the other IS4 family members, they contain a conserved transposase-integrase motif found in other IS families and retroviruses. Moreover, functional data gathered from IS231 A inEscherichia coli indicate a non-replicative mode of transposition, with a marked preference for specific targets. Similar results were also obtained inBacillus subtilis andB. thuringiensis, and a working model for DNA-protein interactions at the target site is proposed.