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Behaviour of recombinant plasmids in Aspergillus nidulans: structure and stability


A pyrG Aspergillus strain was transformed with plasmid pDJB-1, derived from pBR325 by insertion of the Neurospora crassa pyr4 gene (orotidine 5′-phosphate carboxylase), giving mitotically unstable transformants. Aspergillus DNA which acted as an “autonomously replicating sequence” (ARS) in yeast was inserted into pDJB-1 and the resulting construct, pDJB12.1, gave mitotically stable transformants when introduced into Aspergillus. Transformants obtained with pDJB-1 and pDJB12.1 gave few pyr progeny in crosses to a pyrG + strain. Southern hybridisation analysis of pyr + transformants obtained with pDJB-1 revealed restriction fragments expected for integrated plasmid but transformants obtained with pDJB12-1 showed only bands derived from free plasmid. pDJB-1 and derivatives of pDJB12.1 could be recovered from transformants. These derivatives could not be explained by straightforward excision of integrated pDJB12.1 sequences but could result from recombination between plasmid molecules. Hybridisation of undigested transformant DNAs showed that the transforming DNA was present in a high molecular weight form. These results suggest: (1) pDJB12.1 derivatives and possibly pDJB-1 can replicate autonomously in Aspergillus; (2) A. nidulans DNA acting as an ARS in yeast enhances replication and/or segregation of transforming plasmids in Aspergillus; and (3) recombinant plasmids may undergo rearrangements when introduced into Aspergillus.

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para-amino benzoic acid


disodium salt of ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid


sodium dodecyl sulphate




ultra violet


standard saline citrate; 0.15 M sodium chloride, 0.015 M trisodium citrate pH 7.


autonomously replicating sequence(s)


kilobase pairs


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Correspondence to D. W. MacDonald.

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Barnes, D.E., MacDonald, D.W. Behaviour of recombinant plasmids in Aspergillus nidulans: structure and stability. Curr Genet 10, 767–775 (1986).

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Key words

  • Aspergillus
  • Transformation
  • Recombinant plasmids
  • Autonomously replicating sequences