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The region essential for efficient autonomous replication of pSa in Escherichia coli


Comparative analyses were made between plasmid pSa17, a deletion derivative of pSa that is capable of replicating efficiently in Escherichia coli and plasmid pSa3, a derivative that is defective for replication. By comparing the restriction maps of these two derivatives, the regions essential for replication and for stable maintenance of the plasmid were determined. A 2.5 kb DNA segment bearing the origin of DNA replication of pSa17 was sequenced. A 36 kDa RepA protein was encoded in the region essential for replication. Downstream of the RepA coding region was a characteristic sequence including six 17 bp direct repeats, the possible binding sites of RepA protein, followed by AT-rich and GC-rich sequences. Furthermore, an 8 bp incomplete copy of the 17 bp repeat was found in the promoter region of the repA gene. Based on the hypothesis that RepA protein binds to this partial sequence as well as to intact 17 bp sequences, an autoregulatory system for the synthesis of RepA protein may be operative. Another open reading frame (ORF) was found in the region required for the stability of the plasmid. The putative protein encoded in this ORF showed significant homology to several site-specific recombination proteins. A possible role of this putative protein in stable maintenance of the plasmid is discussed.

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Correspondence to Clarence I. Kado.

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Communicated by W. Goebel

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Okumura, M.S., Kado, C.I. The region essential for efficient autonomous replication of pSa in Escherichia coli . Molec. Gen. Genet. 235, 55–63 (1992).

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Key words

  • RepA protein
  • Agrobacterium
  • recombination
  • Recombinase
  • Interons