Summary: Cointegrate plasmids were formed between the broad-host-range R-plasmid RP4 and two catabolic plasmids derived from HS1. One of these was the wild-type plasmid pDK1 encoding the complete inducible toluene/xylene (TOL) catabolic pathway and one was pDKT1, a deletion derivative of pDK1 selected after growth of HS1 on benzoate and supporting growth on only toluene. The two plasmids formed, pDK2 and pDKT2 respectively, each consisted of a complete RP4 replicon in which was an insert of the parent plasmid DNA respectively 40 and 20 kbp in size. The detailed restriction maps of the two plasmids were determined and many of the catabolic genes were located by subcloning and enzyme assay of recombinant plasmids in and hosts. The insert in pDK2 contained both operons of the catabolic pathway, the “upper pathway” operon () and the pathway operon (), and a region identified as having the function of the regulator gene The insert in pDKT2 contained only the upper pathway operon and the regulatory region. Within each of the three coding regions there was great similarity with the same regions on TOL plasmids pWW0 and pWW53-4 apparent () by the same order of the genes, () by a similar pattern of restriction sites and () by hybridization studies. However, the order and orientations of the three coding regions differed from those previously described for both pWW0 and pWW53-4. The significance of these findings to the evolution of TOL plasmids is discussed.


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