The new class 11 transposon Tn163 is plasmid-borne in two unrelated Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae strains

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Abstract

Tn163 is a transposable element identified in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae by its high insertion rate into positive selection vectors. The 4.6 kb element was found in only one further R. leguminosarum bv. viciae strain out of 70 strains investigated. Both unrelated R. leguminosarum bv. viciae strains contained one copy of the transposable element, which was localized in plasmids native to these strains. DNA sequence analysis revealed three large open reading frames (ORFs) and 38 bp terminal inverted repeats. ORF1 encodes a putative protein of 990 amino acids displaying strong homologies to transposases of class 11 transposons. ORF2, transcribed in the opposite direction, codes for a protein of 213 amino acids which is highly homologous to DNA invertases and resolvases of class II transposons. Homology of ORF1 and ORF2 and the genetic structure of the element indicate that Tn163 can be classified as a class II transposon. It is the first example of a native transposon in the genus Rhizobium. ORF3, which was found not to be involved in the transposition process, encodes a putative protein (256 amino acids) of unknown function. During transposition Tn163 produced direct repeats of 5 bp, which is typical for transposons of the Tn3 family. However, one out of the ten insertion sites sequenced showed a 6 by duplication of the target DNA; all duplicated sequences were A/T rich. Insertion of Tn163 into the sacB gene revealed two hot spots. Chromosomes of different R. leguminosarum bv. viciae strains were found to be highly refractory to the insertion of Tn163.

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Correspondence to Alfred Pühler.

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Communicated by W. Arber

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Ulrich, A., Pühler, A. The new class 11 transposon Tn163 is plasmid-borne in two unrelated Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae strains. Molec. Gen. Genet. 242, 505–516 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00285274

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Key words

  • Transposition
  • Tn3 family
  • Rhizobium leguminosarum transposon
  • Distribution of transposon
  • Directed mutagenesis