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Role and specificity of plasmid RP4-encoded DNA primase in bacterial conjugation.

By A Merryweather, P T Barth and B M Wilkins


The role of the DNA primase of IncP plasmids was examined with a derivative of RP4 containing Tn7 in the primase gene (pri). The mutant was defective in mediating bacterial conjugation, with the deficiency varying according to the bacterial strains used as donors and recipients. Complementation tests involving recombinant plasmids carrying cloned fragments of RP4 indicated that the primase acts to promote some event in the recipient cell after DNA transfer and that this requirement can be satisfied by plasmid primase made in the donor cell. It is proposed that the enzyme or its products or both are transmitted to the recipient cell during conjugation, and the role of the enzyme in the conjugative processing of RP4 is discussed. Specificity of plasmid primases was assessed with derivatives of RP4 and the IncI1 plasmid ColIb-P9, which is known to encode a DNA primase active in conjugation. When supplied in the donor cell, neither of the primases encoded by these plasmids substituted effectively in the nonhomologous conjugation system. Since ColIb primase provided in the recipient cell acted weakly on transferred RP4 DNA, it is suggested that the specificity of these enzymes reflects their inability to be transmitted via the conjugation apparatus of the nonhomologous plasmid

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1986
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.167.1.12-17.1986
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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