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The oriT region of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid pTiC58 shares DNA sequence identity with the transfer origins of RSF1010 and RK2/RP4 and with T-region borders.

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Abstract

Ti plasmids of Agrobacterium tumefaciens are conjugal elements whose transfer is induced by certain opines secreted from crown galls. On transmissible plasmids, DNA transfer initiates within a cis-acting site, the origin of conjugal transfer, or oriT. We have localized an oriT on the A. tumefaciens plasmid pTiC58 to a region containing the conjugal transfer loci traI and traII and acc, which is the locus encoding catabolism of the two conjugal opines, agrocinopines A and B. The smallest functional oriT clone, a 65-bp BamHI-ApaI fragment in the recombinant plasmid pDCBA60-11, mapped within the traII locus. The nucleotide sequence for a 665-bp KpnI-EcoRI fragment with oriT activity was determined. DNA sequence alignments showed identities between the pTiC58 oriT and the transfer origins of RSF1010, pTF1, and RK2/RP4 and with the pTiC58 T-region borders. The RSF1010-like sequence on pTiC58 is located in the smallest active oriT clone of pTiC58, while the sequence showing identities with the oriT regions of RK2/RP4 and with T-region borders maps outside this region. Despite their sequence similarities, pTiC58 oriT clones were not mobilized by RP4; nor could vectors containing the RK2/RP4 oriT region or the oriT-mob region from RSF1010 be mobilized by pTiC58. In contrast, other Ti plasmids and a conjugally active Agrobacterium opine catabolic plasmid, pAtK84b, efficiently mobilized pTiC58 oriT clones. In addition, the RSF1010 derivative, pDSK519, was mobilized at moderate frequencies by an Agrobacterium strain harboring only the cryptic plasmid pAtC58 and at very low frequencies by an Agrobacterium host that does not contain any detectable plasmids.

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