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Cointegrates between bacteriophage P1 DNA and plasmid pBR322 derivatives suggest molecular mechanisms for P1-mediated transduction of small plasmids

Summary

We characterized cointegrates formed in an Escherichia coli rec strain between bacteriophage P1 genomes and small plasmids related to pBR322. The partners were, on the one hand, either phage P1 DNA, which carries one copy of IS1, or phage P1-15 DNA, a derivative which lacks the IS1, and, on the other hand, plasmids containing either a split IS1 or no IS1. In the presence of IS1 sequences on both partners, cointegrates were usually formed by reciprocal recombination between IS1 sequences. Cointegrates between P1 and a plasmid carrying no IS1 sequence were formed by transpositional cointegration mediated by IS1 of P1. Cointegrates between P1-15 and small plasmids containing a split IS1 were formed by one of three ways: (a) acquisition of an IS1 by P1-15 followed by reciprocal recombination between IS1 sequences, (b) transpositional cointegration mediated by the split IS1 element, Tn2657, or (c) involvement of the invertible segment carried on P1-15 DNA. Most cointegrates segregated into the small plasmids and phage P1 derivatives. A comparison of the phenomena studied and of their frequencies allowed us to conclude that cointegrate formation is a molecular mechanism involved in the transduction of plasmids smaller than those packageable into P1 virions, although it does not seem to be the only process used.

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Communicated by H. Saedler

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Iida, S., Meyer, J. & Arber, W. Cointegrates between bacteriophage P1 DNA and plasmid pBR322 derivatives suggest molecular mechanisms for P1-mediated transduction of small plasmids. Molec. Gen. Genet. 184, 1–10 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00271186

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00271186

Keywords

  • Escherichia Coli
  • Recombination
  • Molecular Mechanism
  • Plasmid pBR322
  • Small Plasmid