subspecies HD73, toxic for lepidopteran larvae, contains two large self-transmissible plasmids of approximately 75 kb, pHT73 and pAW63. The conjugative plasmid pHT73 has been studied extensively and has been shown to harbour the toxin gene , the transposon Tn and several insertion sequences. In this study it was demonstrated that the minor plasmid pAW63 is also self-transmissible and about 10-30 times more efficient in mobilizing plasmid pBC16. To facilitate direct selection for pAW63 transfer, the plasmid was tagged with the tetracycline resistance transposon Tn and in intraspecies matings it was found that after 2 h, all recipients had acquired a copy of the plasmid. Mating experiments demonstrated that pAW63 could be transferred to subsp. , and that the conjugative functions were expressed in these hosts. Hybridization studies showed that the replicons of pAW63 and pHT73 were distinct from one another. Sequences homologous to transposon Tn and several insertion sequences were, however, shown to reside on both plasmids.


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