An in vivo assay for conjugation-mediated recombination yields novel results for Streptomyces plasmid pIJ101

Matthew J. Ducote, Louisiana State University
Gregg S. Pettis, Louisiana State University


Efficient transmission of circular plasmids in Streptomyces spp. proceeds by an uncharacterized mechanism that requires a cis-acting locus of transfer (clt) and often only a single plasmid-encoded protein. For circular plasmids from other bacteria, site- and strand-specific nicking takes place at the cis-acting oriT locus via the plasmid-encoded relaxase protein prior to single-strand transfer. Using an assay originally designed to demonstrate that conjugative transfer of plasmids containing tandem oriT loci results in the formation of a single composite oriT locus, we show here that an analogous construct involving the pIJ101 clt locus apparently does not undergo such a conjugation-mediated event during plasmid transfer. Our results, which imply that streptomycete plasmids are transferred by a functionally distinct mechanism compared to oriT-containing plasmids, are complementary to other recent evidences that support a novel double-stranded model for streptomycete circular plasmid transfer. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.