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Host-specific factors determine the persistence of IncP-1 plasmids

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Abstract

Conjugative plasmids play a very important role in bacterial adaptation through the dissemination of useful traits. Incompatibility group P-1 (IncP-1) plasmids exhibit an extreme broad-host-range among Gram-negative bacteria and known to be one of the major agents to disseminate various phenotypic traits such as antibiotic resistance and xenobiotic degradation. Although the plasmids are believed to be very stable in most Gram-negative bacteria, little is known about the factors that affect their stability in various hosts, allowing their persistence in bacterial population. Here we show that the stability of the cryptic IncP-1β plasmid pBP136 differed greatly in four different Escherichia coli K12 host backgrounds (MG1655, DH5α, EC100, and JM109), whereas the closely related plasmid pB10 was stable in all four strains. The supply of the kleF gene, which is involved in the stability of IncP-1 plasmids but absent in pBP136, did not improve the stability of the plasmid. Our findings suggest that persistence of IncP-1 plasmids in the absence of selection is affected by strain-specific factors.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. K. Kamachi (National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Japan) for his kind gift of pBP136. This project was supported by NIH Grant Number P20 RR16448 from the Idaho COBRE Program of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

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Correspondence to Masahiro Sota.

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Sota, M., Top, E.M. Host-specific factors determine the persistence of IncP-1 plasmids. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 24, 1951–1954 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11274-008-9653-2

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Keywords

  • Adaptive evolution
  • Broad-host-range
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Host factor
  • IncP-1 plasmid
  • Plasmid stability