Functional and mutational analysis of conjugative transfer region 1 (Tra1) from the IncHI1 plasmid R27

Trevor D. Lawley, Matthew W. Gilmour, James E. Gunton, Leah J. Standeven, Diane E. Taylor

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The conjugative transfer region 1 (Tra1) of the IncHI1 plasmid R27 was subjected to DNA sequence analysis, mutagenesis, genetic complementation, and an H-pilus-specific phage assay. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence indicated that the Tra1 region contains genes coding for mating pair formation (Mpf) and DNA transfer replication (Dtr) and a coupling protein. Insertional disruptions of 9 of the 14 open reading frames (ORFs) in the Tra1 region resulted in a transfer-deficient phenotype. Conjugative transfer was restored for each transfer mutant by genetic complementation. An intergenic region between traH and trhR was cloned and mobilized by R27, indicating the presence of an origin of transfer (oriT). The five ORFs immediately downstream of the oriT region are involved in H-pilus production, as determined by an H-pilus-specific phage assay. Three of these ORFs encode proteins homologous to Mpf proteins from IncF plasmids. Upstream of the oriT region are four ORFs required for plasmid transfer but not H-pilus production. TraI contains sequence motifs that are characteristic of relaxases from the IncP lineage but share no overall homology to known relaxases. TraJ contains both an Arc repressor motif and a leucine zipper motif. A putative coupling protein, TraG, shares a low level of homology to the TraG family of coupling proteins and contains motifs that are important for DNA transfer. This analysis indicates that the Mpf components of R27 share a common lineage with those of the IncF transfer system, whereas the relaxase of R27 is ancestrally related to that of the IncP transfer system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2173-2180
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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