Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 215, Issue 2, pp 209–216 | Cite as

Structural and functional organization of ColE2 and ColE3 replicons

  • Hisashi Yasueda
  • Toshihiro Horii
  • Tateo Itoh


The complete nucleotide sequences of the 1.5 kb regions of ColE2 and ColE3 plasmids containing the segments sufficient for autonomous replication have been determined. They are quite homologous (greater than 90%), indicating that these two plasmids share common mechanisms of initiation of replication and its regulation. An open reading frame with a coding capacity for a protein of about 300 amino acids is present in both ColE2 and ColE3 and it actually specifies the Rep (for replication) protein, which is the plasmid specific trans-acting factor required for autonomous replication. The amino acid sequences of the Rep proteins of ColE2 and ColE3 are quite homologous (greater than 90%). The cis-acting sites (origins) where replication initiates in the presence of the trans-acting factors consist of 32 bp for ColE2 and 33 bp for ColE3. They are the smallest of all the prokaryotic replication origins so far reported. They are nonhomologous only at two positions, one of which, a deletion of a single nucleotide in ColE2 (or an insertion in ColE3), determines the plasmid specificity in interaction of the origins with the Rep proteins. Both plasmids carry a region with an identical nucleotide sequence and the one in ColE2, the IncA region, has been shown to express incompatibility against both ColE2 and ColE3. These results indicate that these plasmids share a common IncA determinant. A possibility that a small antisense RNA is involved in copy number control and incompatibility (IncA function) was suggested.

Key words

ColE2 and ColE3 Nucleotide sequence Trans-acting replication protein Origin Plasmid specificity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hisashi Yasueda
    • 1
  • Toshihiro Horii
    • 1
  • Tateo Itoh
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Genetics, Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceOsaka UniversityOsakaJapan

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