Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 217, Issue 2–3, pp 269–277 | Cite as

Nucleotide sequences from the colicin E5, E6 and E9 operons: Presence of a degenerate transposon-like structure in the ColE9-J plasmid

  • Peter C. K. Lau
  • Janet A. Condie


The nucleotide sequences of 1288 bp of plasmid ColE5-099, 1609 bp of ColE6-CT14 and 2099 bp of ColE9-J were determined. These sequences encompass the structural genes for the C-terminal receptor-binding and nuclease domains of colicins E5, E6 and E9, theircis- ortrans-acting immunity proteins and four lysis proteins including an atypical one of non-lipoprotein nature (Lys*) present in the ColE9-J plasmid. The ColE6 gene organisation, in the ordercol-imm-E8imm-lys, is identical to that found in the previously described double-immunity gene system of ColE3-CA38 (an RNase producer). The corresponding genes in the two plasmids are 87%–94% homologous. In ColE9-J, the genes are organised ascol-imm-lys *-E5imm-lys. The E9col-imm gene pair is homologous to the colicin E2-P9 type (a DNase producer). Downstream from E9imm is an E5imm (designated E5imm[E9]) which istrans-acting. Neither the predicted structures of E5Imm[E9] nor thecis-acting Imm resident in the ColE5-099 plasmid which differs by a single amino acid shows any resemblance to other immunity structures which have been sequenced. Furthermore, the E5col sequences differ from those predicted previously for other colicins except for the conservedbtuB-specified receptor-binding domain. A novel 205 nucleotide long insertion sequence is found in the ColE9-J plasmid. This insertion sequence, which we named ISE9, has features reminiscent of the degenerate transposon IS101 previously found in plasmid pSC101. One effect of ISE9 is the presence of the atypical lysis gene,lys *. The presence of a transposon-like element in the ColE9 plasmid exemplifies a new phenomenon relevant to the evolution of colicin E plasmids.

Key words

Endonuclease Immunity Lipoprotein signal peptide Lysis IS elements 

Abbreviations and symbols


indicates the plasmid carrier strain


open reading frame


base pairs


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. K. Lau
    • 1
  • Janet A. Condie
    • 1
  1. 1.Genetic Engineering Section, Biotechnology Research InstituteNational Research Council of CanadaMontréalCanada

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