Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 194, Issue 3, pp 444–450 | Cite as

Does Tn10 transpose via the cointegrate molecule?

  • Shigeaki Harayama
  • Tomoko Oguchi
  • Tetsuo Iino


It has been well established that Tn3 and its relatives transpose from one replicon to another by two successive reactions: formation of the cointegrate molecule and resolution from it. Whether or not the 9300 base pair tetracycline resistance transposon Tn10 transposes in the same manner as Tn3 was investigated by two methods.

In the first method, λ55, a lambda phage carrying Tn10 was lysogenized in an Escherichia coli strain carrying a Tn10 insertion; the phage has a deletion in attP, hence it was lysogenized in a Tn10 sequence in the E. coli chromosome by reciprocal recombination. The chromosomal structure in these lysogens is equivalent to the Tn10-mediated cointegrate molecule of lambda and the E. coli chromosomal DNA. The stability of the cointegrate molecule was examined by measuring the rate of excision of lambda from the host chromosome, and was found to be stable, especially in a Rec- strain. Because of this stability, the cointegrate molecule should be accumulated if Tn10 transposes via the cointegrate molecule. Then, we examined the configuration of products made by transposition of Tn10 from λ55 to the E. coli chromosome. The cointegrate molecule was found in products of Tn10 transposition in a Rec+ strain at a frequency of 5% per Tn10 transposition, but this molecule could not be found in a Rec- strain. Since transposition of Tn10 was recA-independent, absence of the cointegrate molecule formed in a RecA- strain strongly suggested that the cointegrate molecule is not an obligatory intermediate of transposition of Tn10.

In the second method, mobilization of pACYC177 by R388 and by R388:: Tn10 was examined. The pACYC177 plasmid was mobilized by R388::Tn10 at a frequency of 10-4 per donor but not by R388. It occurred, in most cases, by “inverse transposition” of R388::Tn10 to pACYC177 forming plasmids such as pACYC177::IS10-R388-IS10. Mobilization of pACYC177 by a Tn10-mediated cointegrate in the form of pACYC177::Tn10-R388-Tn10 was not observed in crosses using a Rec- donor. These observations also suggested that transposition of Tn10 in Rec- cells does not occur via the cointegrate molecule.


Recombination Base Pair Tetracycline Chromosomal Structure Successive Reaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shigeaki Harayama
    • 1
  • Tomoko Oguchi
    • 1
  • Tetsuo Iino
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Genetics, Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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