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The LE1 Bacteriophage Replicates as a Plasmid within Leptospira biflexa: Construction of an L. biflexa-Escherichia coli Shuttle Vector

Authors
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Source
PMC
Keywords
  • Plasmids And Transposons
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

We have discovered that LE1, one of the plaque-forming phages previously described as lytic for the Leptospira biflexa saprophytic spirochete (I. Saint Girons, D. Margarita, P. Amouriaux, and G. Baranton, Res. Microbiol. 141:1131–1138, 1990), was indeed temperate. LE1 was found to be unusual, as Southern blot analysis indicated that it is one of the few phages to replicate in the prophage state as a circular plasmid. The unavailability of such small endogenous replicons has hindered genetic experimentation in Leptospira. We have developed a shuttle vector with DNA derived from LE1. Random LE1 DNA fragments were cloned into a pGEM 7Zf(+) derivative devoid of most of the bla gene but carrying a kanamycin resistance marker from the gram-positive bacterium Enterococcus (Streptococcus) faecalis. These constructs were transformed into L. biflexa strain Patoc 1 by electroporation, giving rise to kanamycin-resistant transformants. A 2.2-kb fragment from LE1 was responsible for replication of the vector in L. biflexa. However, a larger region including an intact parA gene homologue was necessary for the stability of the shuttle vector. Direct repeats and AT-rich regions characterized the LE1 origin of replication. Our data indicate that the replicon derived from the LE1 leptophage, together with the kanamycin resistance gene, is a promising tool with which to develop the genetics of Leptospira species.

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