Nonmethylated transposable elements and methylated genes in a chordate genome.
The genome of the invertebrate chordate Ciona intestinalis was found to be a stable mosaic of methylated and nonmethylated domains. Multiple copies of an apparently active long terminal repeat retrotransposon and a long interspersed element are nonmethylated and a large fraction of abundant short interspersed elements are also methylation free. Genes, by contrast, are predominantly methylated. These data are incompatible with the genome defense model, which proposes that DNA methylation in animals is primarily targeted to endogenous transposable elements. Cytosine methylation in this urochordate may be preferentially directed to genes. (+info)
A cis-acting A-U sequence element induces kinetoplastid U-insertions.
A 34-nucleotide A-U sequence located immediately upstream of the editing sites of the Leishmania tarentolae cytochrome b mRNA induces a mitochondrial extract to insert U nucleotides independent of guide RNA. Insertions are localized to positions immediately 5' and 3' of the A-U sequence. When placed within an unedited mammalian transcript, the A-U sequence is sufficient to induce U-insertions. The sequence has a high degree of similarity with the templating nucleotides of a cytochrome b guide RNA and with a sequence adjacent to the editing sites in ND7 mRNA, the other characterized kinetoplastid mRNA supporting guide RNA-independent U-insertions. At least one protein specifically interacts with the A-U sequence. The reaction is consistent with a mechanism proposed for guide RNA-directed editing. (+info)
Efflux-mediated aminoglycoside and macrolide resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei.
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, is intrinsically resistant to a wide range of antimicrobial agents including beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, macrolides, and polymyxins. We used Tn5-OT182 to mutagenize B. pseudomallei to identify the genes involved in aminoglycoside resistance. We report here on the identification of AmrAB-OprA, a multidrug efflux system in B. pseudomallei which is specific for both aminoglycoside and macrolide antibiotics. We isolated two transposon mutants, RM101 and RM102, which had 8- to 128-fold increases in their susceptibilities to the aminoglycosides streptomycin, gentamicin, neomycin, tobramycin, kanamycin, and spectinomycin. In addition, both mutants, in contrast to the parent, were susceptible to the macrolides erythromycin and clarithromycin but not to the lincosamide clindamycin. Sequencing of the DNA flanking the transposon insertions revealed a putative operon consisting of a resistance, nodulation, division-type transporter, a membrane fusion protein, an outer membrane protein, and a divergently transcribed regulatorprotein. Consistent with the presence of an efflux system, both mutants accumulated [3H] dihydro streptomycin, whereas the parent strain did not. We constructed an amr deletion strain, B. pseudomallei DD503, which was hypersusceptible to aminoglycosides and macrolides and which was used successfully in allelic exchange experiments. These results suggest that an efflux system is a major contributor to the inherent high-level aminoglycoside and macrolide resistance found in B. pseudomallei. (+info)
Molecular diversity and evolutionary relationships of Tn1546-like elements in enterococci from humans and animals.
We report on a detailed study on the molecular diversity and evolutionary relationships of Tn1546-like elements in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) from humans and animals. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the VanA transposon of 97 VRE revealed seven different Tn1546 types. Subsequent sequencing of the complete VanA transposons of 13 VRE isolates representing the seven RFLP types followed by sequencing of the identified polymorphic regions in 84 other VanA transposons resulted in the identification of 22 different Tn1546 derivatives. Differences between the Tn1546 types included point mutations in orf1, vanS, vanA, vanX, and vanY. Moreover, insertions of an IS1216V-IS3-like element in orf1, of IS1251 in the vanS-vanH intergenic region, and of IS1216V in the vanX-vanY intergenic region were found. The presence of insertion sequence elements was often associated with deletions in Tn1546. Identical Tn1546 types were found among isolates from humans and farm animals in The Netherlands, suggesting the sharing of a common vancomycin resistance gene pool. Application of the genetic analysis of Tn1546 to VRE isolates causing infections in Hospitals in Oxford, United Kingdom, and Chicago, Ill., suggested the possibility of the horizontal transmission of the vancomycin resistance transposon. The genetic diversity in Tn1546 combined with epidemiological data suggest that the DNA polymorphism among Tn1546 variants can successfully be exploited for the tracing of the routes of transmission of vancomycin resistance genes. (+info)
Many class I integrons comprise distinct stable structures occurring in different species of Enterobacteriaceae isolated from widespread geographic regions in Europe.
Three sizes of inserted regions of DNA (800, 1,000, and 1,500 bp) were shown to be common among class I integrons in unrelated clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae from different European hospitals. Sequencing showed that 800-bp inserted regions comprised identical sequences including aacA4, that 1,000-bp inserted regions included aadA, and that 1,500-bp inserted regions included dfrI and aadA1, irrespective of host species and geographic origin. In addition promoter sequences were mostly identical for each size class. These data suggest that inserted gene cassettes and promoter regions of integrons are conserved and stable, with resistance genes transferred more often as part of the entire integron structure than as individual gene cassettes. (+info)
Molecular characterization of the nitrite-reducing system of Staphylococcus carnosus.
Characterization of a nitrite reductase-negative Staphylococcus carnosus Tn917 mutant led to the identification of the nir operon, which encodes NirBD, the dissimilatory NADH-dependent nitrite reductase; SirA, the putative oxidase and chelatase, and SirB, the uroporphyrinogen III methylase, both of which are necessary for biosynthesis of the siroheme prosthetic group; and NirR, which revealed no convincing similarity to proteins with known functions. We suggest that NirR is essential for nir promoter activity. In the absence of NirR, a weak promoter upstream of sirA seems to drive transcription of sirA, nirB, nirD, and sirB in the stationary-growth phase. In primer extension experiments one predominant and several weaker transcription start sites were identified in the nir promoter region. Northern blot analyses indicated that anaerobiosis and nitrite are induction factors of the nir operon: cells grown aerobically with nitrite revealed small amounts of full-length transcript whereas cells grown anaerobically with or without nitrite showed large amounts of full-length transcript. Although a transcript is detectable, no nitrite reduction occurs in cells grown aerobically with nitrite, indicating an additional oxygen-controlled step at the level of translation, enzyme folding, assembly, or insertion of prosthetic groups. The nitrite-reducing activity expressed during anaerobiosis is switched off reversibly when the oxygen tension increases, most likely due to competition for electrons with the aerobic respiratory chain. Another gene, nirC, is located upstream of the nir operon. nirC encodes a putative integral membrane-spanning protein of unknown function. A nirC mutant showed no distinct phenotype. (+info)
Protein ProQ influences osmotic activation of compatible solute transporter ProP in Escherichia coli K-12.
ProP is an osmoregulatory compatible solute transporter in Escherichia coli K-12. Mutation proQ220::Tn5 decreased the rate constant for and the extent of ProP activation by an osmotic upshift but did not alter proP transcription or the ProP protein level. Allele proQ220::Tn5 was isolated, and the proQ sequence was determined. Locus proQ is upstream from prc (tsp) at 41.2 centisomes on the genetic map. The proQ220::Tn5 and prc phenotypes were different, however. Gene proQ is predicted to encode a 232-amino-acid, basic, hydrophilic protein (molecular mass, 25,876 Da; calculated isoelectric point, 9.66; 32% D, E, R, or K; 54.5% polar amino acids). The insertion of PCR-amplified proQ into vector pBAD24 produced a plasmid containing the wild-type proQ open reading frame, the expression of which yielded a soluble protein with an apparent molecular mass of 30 kDa. Antibodies raised against the overexpressed ProQ protein detected cross-reactive material in proQ+ bacteria but not in proQ220::Tn5 bacteria. ProQ may be a structural element that influences the osmotic activation of ProP at a posttranslational level. (+info)
Characterization of an insertion sequence element associated with genetically diverse plant pathogenic Streptomyces spp.
Streptomycetes are common soil inhabitants, yet few described species are plant pathogens. While the pathogenicity mechanisms remain unclear, previous work identified a gene, nec1, which encodes a putative pathogenicity or virulence factor. nec1 and a neighboring transposase pseudogene, ORFtnp, are conserved among unrelated plant pathogens and absent from nonpathogens. The atypical GC content of nec1 suggests that it was acquired through horizontal transfer events. Our investigation of the genetic organization of regions adjacent to the 3' end of nec1 in Streptomyces scabies 84.34 identified a new insertion sequence (IS) element, IS1629, with homology to other IS elements from prokaryotic animal pathogens. IS1629 is 1,462 bp with 26-bp terminal inverted repeats and encodes a putative 431-amino-acid (aa) transposase. Transposition of IS1629 generates a 10-bp target site duplication. A 77-nucleotide (nt) sequence encompassing the start codon and upstream region of the transposase was identified which could function in the posttranscritpional regulation of transposase synthesis. A functional copy of IS1629 from S. turgidiscabies 94.09 (Hi-C-13) was selected in the transposon trap pCZA126, through its insertion into the lambda cI857 repressor. IS1629 is present in multiple copies in some S. scabies strains and is present in all S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies strains examined. A second copy of IS1629 was identified between ORFtnp and nec1 in S. acidiscabies strains. The diversity of IS1629 hybridization profiles was greatest within S. scabies. IS1629 was absent from the 27 nonpathogenic Streptomyces strains tested. The genetic organization and nucleotide sequence of the nec1-IS1629 region was conserved and identical among representatives of S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies. These findings support our current model for the unidirectional transfer of the ORFtnp-nec1-IS1629 locus from IS1629-containing S. scabies (type II) to S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies. (+info)