Expression characteristics of the transfer-related kilB gene product of Streptomyces plasmid pIJ101: Implications for the plasmid spread function

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Intermycelial transfer of Streptomyces plasmid pIJ101 occurs prior to cellular differentiation and is mediated by plasmid functions that are also required for production of zones of growth-inhibited recipient cells (i.e., pocks) that develop around individual donors during mating on agar medium. Several other pIJ101 functions, including that of the kilB gene, whose unregulated expression on pIJ101 is lethal, are required for normal pock size and so have been postulated to mediate intramycelial spread of the plasmid throughout recipient cells. Using antibodies raised against a KilB fusion protein expressed in Escherichia coli, native KilB protein was detected throughout development of pIJ101-containing Streptomyces lividans cells, with the concentration of KilB increasing dramatically and reaching a maximum during the final stages (i.e., sporulation and secondary metabolism) of cellular differentiation. Insertion of the kilB gene of pIJ101 into the S. lividans chromosome in cells lacking the pIJ101 KorB protein, which normally represses kilB gene transcription, resulted in elevated but still temporally increasing amounts of KilB. The increased expression or accumulation of the KilB spread protein throughout cellular differentiation of S. lividans, which leads to maximum KilB concentrations during developmental stages that occur far later than when intermycelial transfer of pIJ101 is mediated, supports the existence of a subsequent intramycelial component to the pIJ101 spread function. The results also suggest that intramycelial spread of pIJ101 molecules within the recipient extends beyond intercompartmental movements within the mycelia and includes undetermined steps within the spore-yielding aerial hyphae as well.

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Journal of Bacteriology

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