1887

Abstract

The nucleotide sequences of the broad-host-range antibiotic resistance plasmids pB2 (61 kb) and pB3 (56 kb), which were isolated from a wastewater treatment plant, were determined and analysed. Both have a nearly identical IncP-1 backbone, which diverged early from the sequenced IncP-1 plasmids R751, pB10, pJP4, pADP1 and pUO1. In contrast to the latter plasmids, the pB2 and pB3 backbone does not seem to have undergone any deletions. The complete partition gene is located downstream of the mating pair formation () module. A 14·4 kb or 19·0 kb mobile genetic element is present between and of pB3 and pB2, respectively. This region is typical for insertions in IncP-1 plasmids, but the insertion site is unique. Both elements differ only by a duplication in pB2 of a ()– fragment. The 5 bp target site duplication and the 26 bp inverted repeats flanking the mobile genetic elements are still intact, indicating that the insertion occurred recently. The element consists of three nested transposable elements: (i) a relict of a Tn-like transposon with a gene for a new class D -lactamase ( ); (ii) within that, another Tn-like element with a class 1 integron harbouring the gene cassettes for a chloramphenicol efflux protein and encoding a streptomycin/spectinomycin adenylyltransferase, and a copy of IS; (iii) into the integrase gene a tetracycline resistance module ()– flanked by copies of IS is inserted. Interestingly, in contrast to all other IncP-1 plasmids analysed so far, the region between and is not interrupted by accessory genes, and there is no indication that previously inserted accessory genes have subsequently been deleted. The genes are also missing in that region and should thus be considered acquired genes. These findings, together with the fact that IncP-1 plasmids acquired accessory elements at various positions in the backbone, suggest that IncP-1 plasmids without any accessory genes exist in microbial communities. They must occasionally acquire accessory genes by transposition events, resulting in those plasmids that have been found based on selectable phenotypic traits.

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2004-11-01
2019-11-19
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