Plasmid partitioning systems of conjugative plasmids from Clostridium perfringens

Vicki Adams, Thomas D Watts, Dieter M Bulach, Dena Lyras, Julian I Rood

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Many pathogenic strains of Clostridium perfringens carry several highly similar toxin or antibiotic resistance plasmids that have 35 to 40 kb of very closely related syntenous sequences, including regions that carry the genes encoding conjugative transfer, plasmid replication and plasmid maintenance functions. Key questions are how are these closely related plasmids stably maintained in the same cell and what is the basis for plasmid incompatibility in C. perfringens. Comparative analysis of the Rep proteins encoded by these plasmids suggested that this protein was not the basis for plasmid incompatibility since plasmids carried in a single strain often encoded an almost identical Rep protein. These plasmids all carried a similar, but not identical, parMRC plasmid partitioning locus. Phylogenetic analysis of the deduced ParM proteins revealed that these proteins could be divided into ten separate groups. Importantly, in every strain that carried more than one of these plasmids, the respective ParM proteins were from different phylogenetic groups. Similar observations were made from the analysis of phylogenetic trees of the ParR proteins and the parC loci. These findings provide evidence that the basis for plasmid incompatibility in the conjugative toxin and resistance plasmid family from C. perfringens resides in subtle differences in the parMRC plasmid partitioning loci carried by these plasmids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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