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Characterization of interspecific plasmid transfer mediated by Bacillus subtilis temperate bacteriophage SP02.

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Abstract

Plasmid pPL1010 is a 7.0-kilobase derivative of plasmid pUB110 that harbors the cohesive end site of the bacteriophage SP02 genome. Plasmid pPL1017 is a 6.8-kilobase derivative of plasmid pC194 that contains the immunity region of bacteriophage phi 105 and the cohesive end site of bacteriophage SP02. These plasmids are transducible by bacteriophage SP02 at a frequency of 10(-2) transductants per PFU among mutant derivatives of Bacillus subtilis 168 and have been transferred to other strains of B. subtilis and B. amyloliquefaciens by means of bacteriophage SP02-mediated transduction, with frequencies ranging from 10(-5) to 10(-7) transductants per PFU. The introduced plasmids were stably maintained in nearly all new hosts in the absence of selective pressure. An exception was found in B. subtilis DSM704, which also harbored three cryptic plasmids. Plasmids pPL1010 and pPL1017 were incompatible with a 7.9-kilobase replicon native to strain DSM704. Furthermore, plasmid pPL1017 was processed by strain DSM704 into a approximately 5.3-kilobase replicon that was compatible with the resident plasmid content of strain DSM704. The use of bacteriophage SP02-mediated plasmid transduction has allowed the identification of Bacillus strains that are susceptible to bacteriophage SP02-mediated genetic transfer but cannot support bacteriophage SP02 lytic infection.

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