We have previously identified three sites, named sbi, ihfA, and sbyA, specifically recognized or bound by the Tral, IHF, and TraY proteins, respectively; these sites are involved in nicking at the origin of transfer, oriT, of plasmid R100. In the region next to these sites, there exists the sbm region, which consists of four sites, sbmA, sbmB, sbmC, and sbmD; this region is specifically bound by the Tram protein, which is required for DNA transfer. Between sbmB and sbmC in this region, there exists another IHF- binding site, ihfB. The region containing all of these sites is located in the proximity of the tra region and is referred to as the oriT region. To determine whether these sites are important for DNA transfer in vivo, we constructed plasmids with various mutations in the oriT region and tested their mobilization in the presence of R100-1, a transfer-proficient mutant of R100. Plasmids with either deletions in the sbi-ihfA-sbyA region or substitution mutations introduced into each specific site in this region were mobilized at a greatly reduced frequency, showing that all of these sites are essential for DNA transfer. By binding to ihfA, IHF, which is known to bend DNA, may be involved in the formation of a complex (which may be called oriT- some) consisting of TraI, IHF, and Tray that efficiently introduces a nick at oriT. Plasmids with either deletions in the sbm-ihfB region or substitution mutations introduced into each specific site in this region were mobilized at a reduced frequency, showing that this region is also important for DNA transfer. By binding to ihfB, IHF may also be involved in the formation of another complex (which may be called the TraM-IBF complex) consisting of TraM and IHF that ensures DNA transfer with a high level of efficiency. Several- base-pair insertions into the positions between sbyA and sbmA affected the frequency of transfer in a manner dependent upon the number of base pairs, indicating that the phasing between sbyA and sbmA is important. This in turn suggests that both oriT-some and the TraM-IHF complex should be in an appropriate position spatially to facilitate DNA transfer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology