1887

Abstract

Gram-positive bacteria of the genus possess linear chromosomes and linear plasmids capped by terminal proteins covalently bound to the 5′ ends of the DNA. The linearity of chromosomes raises the question of how they are transferred during conjugation, particularly when the mobilizing plasmids are also linear. The classical rolling circle replication model for transfer of circular plasmids and chromosomes from an internal origin cannot be applied to this situation. Instead it has been proposed that linear plasmids mobilize themselves and the linear chromosomes from their telomeres using terminal-protein-primed DNA synthesis. In support of this ‘end first’ model, we found that artificially circularized chromosomes could not be mobilized by linear plasmids (SLP2 and SCP1), while linear chromosomes could. In comparison, a circular plasmid (pIJ303) could mobilize both circular and linear chromosomes at the same efficiencies. Interestingly, artificially circularized SLP2 exhibited partial self-transfer capability, indicating that, being a composite replicon, it may have acquired the additional internal origin of transfer from an ancestral circular plasmid during evolution.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • , National Science Council , (Award NSC99-2321-B-010-006 and NSC98-2311-B-010-004)
  • , Ministry of Education
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2011-09-01
2020-11-24
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