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Plasmid Stability in Pseudomonas fluorescens in the Rhizosphere

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Abstract

Plasmids belonging to various incompatibility (Inc) groups were introduced into the efficiently root-colonizing strain Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS365, and their stabilities in complex and minimal media and in the rhizospheres of tomato, wheat, and potato plants grown under gnotobiotic conditions without selection pressure were tested. The IncP plasmid was found to be highly unstable under all conditions tested, whereas the IncQ and IncW plasmids showed intermediate stabilities and the plasmids pVSP41 and pWTT2081, for which the Inc group is unknown, both containing the origin of replication (rep) and stability (sta) regions of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa pVS1 replicon, were stably maintained under all conditions tested. Growth experiments in which cells of strain WCS365 carrying the plasmid pWTT2081 were grown in the presence of WCS365 without the plasmid showed that the presence of pWTT2081 acts as a burden. We conclude that pVSP41 and pWTT2081 are valuable as stable vectors for the functional analysis of genes involved in root colonization, provided that control cells carry the empty vector.

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