Other Plasmids and Other Conjugation Systems

  • Edward A. Birge
Part of the Springer Series in Microbiology book series (SSMIC)


Not all plasmids are conjugative, and, even among those that are, they do not necessarily have chromosome-mobilizing ability (capability of promoting transfer of chromosomal markers to a recipient cell). Nevertheless, these plasmids can have major economic and genetic importance. The diversity of plasmids that have been identified is staggering, and they are ubiquitous. In one study, 34 of 87 hospital isolates of enteric bacteria or Pseudomonas carried at least one plasmid. Bacillus megaterium routinely has eight or more plasmids in its cytoplasm. All of these plasmids have only two things in common. They can be identified in cell lysates as autonomous DNA molecules, and they are capable of self-replication. If the presence or absence of a plasmid has no observable effect on the cell phenotype, it is said to be a cryptic plasmid. Plasmids are often subdivided according to whether they are capable of self-transfer from one host cell to another. Many, but not all, of those plasmids that are self-transmissible are also capable of mobilizing the bacterial chromosome of the host cell and causing it to be transferred into another cell in a manner analogous to that of the F plasmid.


Antibiotic Resistance Tetracycline Resistance Conjugation System Conjugative Plasmid Incompatibility Group 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward A. Birge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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