We report a technique which uses the cointegrate intermediate of transposon Tn1000 transposition as a means to lower the copy number of ColE1-type plasmids. The transposition of Tn1000 from one replicon to another is considered a two-step process. In the first step, the transposon-encoded TnpA protein mediates fusion of the two replicons to produce a cointegrate. In the second step, the cointegrate is resolved by site-specific recombination between the two transposon copies to yield the final transposition products: the target replicon with an integrated transposon plus the regenerated donor replicon. Using in vitro techniques, the DNA sequence of the Tn1000 transposon was altered so that cointegrate formation occurs but resolution by the site-specific recombination pathway is blocked. When this transposon was resident on an F factor-derived plasmid, a cointegrate was formed between a multicopy ColE1-type target plasmid and the conjugative F plasmid. Conjugational transfer of this cointegrate into a polA strain resulted in a stable cointegrate in which replication from the ColE1 plasmid origin was inhibited and replication proceeded only from the single-copy F factor replication origin. We assayed isogenic strains which harbored plasmids encoding chloramphenicol acetyltransferase to measure the copy number of such F factor-ColE1-type cointegrate plasmids and found that the copy number was decreased to the level of single-copy chromosomal elements. This method was used to study the effect of copy number on the expression of the fabA gene (which encodes the key fatty acid-biosynthetic enzyme beta-hydroxydecanoylthioester dehydrase) by the regulatory protein encoded by the fadR gene.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology