Summary: The structures of the colicin Ib plasmid (ColIb), the delta transfer factor and a plasmid determining kanamycin resistance and colicin Ib production called KColIb, were compared. Radiolabelled mini-ColIb plasmids and isolated DNA fragments of ColIb were used as probes for nitrocellulose blots of digests of the other two large plasmids. The structure of delta was consistent with it having one large deletion of about 10 MDa in the SB fragment and two insertions of approximately 6 MDa and 12 MDa in the SB and SA fragments of the ColIb plasmid. It was hypothesized that KColIb had six small insertions in SA, SB, SE and near the junction of the SB and SD fragments. However, ColIb, KColIb and delta were homologous for at least 70% of their lengths. The highly conserved regions in the three plasmids were the regions that corresponded to fragments SA, SC and SD of ColIb. In addition, delta and KColIb differed from ColIb at similar sites. The possible evolution of these plasmids is discussed.


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