IncH1 plasmids and the F plasmid of display one-way compatibility. An entering IncH1 plasmid is incompatible with a resident F plasmid, but is compatible when it is the resident plasmid. There is little molecular homology between IncH1 plasmids and the F plasmid. A single 5 MDal RI restriction enzyme fragment from digests of several IncH1 plasmids hybridizes with probes constructed from the primary replication region of F. Homology can be demonstrated only with the gene for the essential replication protein of F (gene E), but the expression of incompatibility behaviour appears to be associated with the presence of the secondary replicon of the F plasmid. Thus R27 and F are compatible under growth conditions allowing replication and maintenance of F by the secondary replicon. However, a mutant F plasmid which lacks the secondary replicon of F is incompatible with R27 in both directions, irrespective of the growth conditions used.


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