Identification of a gene encoding a bacteriophage-related integrase in a vap region of the Dichelobacter nodosus genome

Brian F. Cheetham, David B. Tattersall, Garry A. Bloomfield, Julian I. Rood, Margaret E. Katz

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Abstract

Dichelobacter nodosus is the principal causative agent of ovine footrot. Nucleotide (nt) sequences from the D. nodosus genome have been isolated and a series of overlapping λ, clones defining vap (virulence-associated protein) regions 1, 2 and 3 have been reported [Katz et al., J. Bacteriol. 176 (1994) 2663-2669]. In the present study, the limits of the virulence-associated (va) DNA around vap regions 1 and 3 were determined by dot-blot hybridization experiments using plasmid subclones to probe genomic DNA from the D. nodosus virulent strain A198 and the benign strain C305. This va region was found to be approx. 11.9 kb in length, and to be interrupted by a short DNA segment which is also found in the benign D. nodosus strain. Sequence analysis of the entire region revealed an ORF, intA, which is very similar to the integrases of bacteriophages ΦR73, P4 and Sf6. Bacteriophages ΦR73 and P4 integrate into the 3′ ends of tRNA genes, with the integrase genes adjacent to the tRNA genes. A similar arrangement was found in the D. nodosus va region. A 19-bp nt sequence was found to be repeated at the ends of the va region, and may represent the bacteriophage attachment site. These findings suggest that D. nodosus may have acquired these DNA sequences by the integration of a bacteriophage, or an integrative plasmid that contains a bacteriophage-related integrase gene. The high similarity of the D. nodosus integrase to integrases from coliphages suggests that these va sequences may be transferred between distantly related bacteria. Integration of the putative bacteriophage was followed by at least two independent duplication events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalGene
Volume162
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 1995

Keywords

  • Footrot
  • ovine
  • pathogenesis
  • virulence

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