When recombinant plasmids that were transferred to the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain M-131 were transferred back to Escherichia coli, some of the transformants contained inserts. One of the insertion sequences (ISs) was characterized by sequencing. This 1,351-base-pair IS contained an open reading frame that was capable of encoding a peptide of 310 amino acids and had terminal sequences with distinctive structures, but it lacked terminal inverted repeats and did not duplicate target DNA upon insertion. The element bore no significant sequence homology to any sequence stored in the GenBank data base. Restriction analysis of the genomes of Anabaena sp. strain M-131 and Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 showed those strains to be closely related. Sequences homologous to the IS element were also present in the DNA of Anabaena strain PCC 7120, but the copy numbers and chromosomal locations of such sequences differed in the two strains. The largest visualized plasmid was 425 kilobases (kb) in M-131 and 410 kb in PCC 7120; at least the former plasmid contained multiple copies of the element, as did a 115-kb plasmid in M-131
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