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Identification of self-transmissible plasmids in four Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies.

By A Reddy, L Battisti and C B Thorne


The transfer of plasmids by mating from four Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies to Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus cereus recipients was monitored by selecting transcipients which acquired plasmid pBC16 (Tcr). Transcipients also inherited a specific large plasmid from each B. thuringiensis donor at a high frequency along with a random array of smaller plasmids. The large plasmids (ca. 50 to 120 megadaltons), pXO13, pXO14, pXO15, and pXO16, originating from B. thuringiensis subsp. morrisoni, B. thuringiensis subsp. toumanoffi, B. thuringiensis subsp. alesti, and B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis, respectively, were demonstrated to be responsible for plasmid mobilization. Transcipients containing any of the above plasmids had donor capability, while B. thuringiensis strains cured of each of them were not fertile, indicating that the plasmids confer conjugation functions. Confirmation that pXO13, pXO14, and pXO16 were self-transmissible was obtained by the isolation of fertile B. anthracis and B. cereus transcipients that contained only pBC16 and one of these plasmids. pXO14 was efficient in mobilizing the toxin and capsule plasmids, pXO1 and pXO2, respectively, from B. anthracis transcipients to plasmid-cured B. anthracis or B. cereus recipients. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments suggested that DNA homology exists among pXO13, pXO14, and the B. thuringiensis subsp. thuringiensis conjugative plasmids pXO11 and pXO12. Matings performed between strains which each contained the same conjugative plasmid demonstrated reduced efficiency of pBC16 transfer. However, in many instances when donor and recipient strains contained different conjugative plasmids, the efficiency of pBC16 transfer appeared to be enhanced

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1987
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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