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1.  Stepwise enhancement of catalytic performance of haloalkane dehalogenase LinB towards β-hexachlorocyclohexane 
AMB Express  2014;4:72.
Two haloalkane dehalogenases, LinBUT and LinBMI, each with 296 amino acid residues, exhibit only seven amino acid residue differences between them, but LinBMI’s catalytic performance towards β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH) is considerably higher than LinBUT’s. To elucidate the molecular basis governing this difference, intermediate mutants between LinBUT and LinBMI were constructed and kinetically characterized. The activities of LinBUT-based mutants gradually increased by cumulative mutations into LinBUT, and the effects of the individual amino acid substitutions depended on combination with other mutations. These results indicated that LinBUT’s β-HCH degradation activity can be enhanced in a stepwise manner by the accumulation of point mutations.
PMCID: PMC4230811  PMID: 25401073
β-Hexachlorocyclohexane; Xenobiotics; Biodegradation; Haloalkane dehalogenase; Protein evolution
2.  Complete Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas sp. Strain TKP, Isolated from a γ-Hexachlorocyclohexane-Degrading Mixed Culture 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e01241-13.
Pseudomonas sp. strain TKP does not degrade γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH), but it persistently coexists with the γ-HCH-degrading Sphingobium sp. strain TKS in a mixed culture enriched by γ-HCH. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of strain TKP, which consists of one circular chromosome with a size of 7 Mb.
PMCID: PMC3907731  PMID: 24482516
3.  Complete Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa MTB-1, Isolated from a Microbial Community Enriched by the Technical Formulation of Hexachlorocyclohexane 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e01130-13.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa MTB-1 does not degrade gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH), but this bacterium persistently coexists with a γ-HCH-degrading strain, Sphingomonas sp. MM-1, in a microbial community enriched by the technical formulation of HCH. Here we report the complete MTB-1 genome sequence, with a 6.6-Mb circular chromosome.
PMCID: PMC3900889  PMID: 24459257
4.  Complete Genome Sequence of the Thermophilic Polychlorinated Biphenyl Degrader Geobacillus sp. Strain JF8 (NBRC 109937) 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e01213-13.
Geobacillus sp. strain JF8 (NBRC 109937) utilizes biphenyl and naphthalene as sole carbon sources and degrades polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) at 60°C. Here, we report the complete nucleotide sequence of the JF8 genome (a 3,446,630-bp chromosome and a 39,678-bp plasmid). JF8 has the smallest genome among the known PCB degraders.
PMCID: PMC3900906  PMID: 24459274
5.  Crystal Structure and Site-Directed Mutagenesis Analyses of Haloalkane Dehalogenase LinB from Sphingobium sp. Strain MI1205 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(11):2642-2651.
The enzymes LinBUT and LinBMI (LinB from Sphingobium japonicum UT26 and Sphingobium sp. MI1205, respectively) catalyze the hydrolytic dechlorination of β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH) and yield different products, 2,3,4,5,6-pentachlorocyclohexanol (PCHL) and 2,3,5,6-tetrachlorocyclohexane-1,4-diol (TCDL), respectively, despite their 98% identity in amino acid sequence. To reveal the structural basis of their different enzymatic properties, we performed site-directed mutagenesis and X-ray crystallographic studies of LinBMI and its seven point mutants. The mutation analysis revealed that the seven amino acid residues uniquely found in LinBMI were categorized into three groups based on the efficiency of the first-step (from β-HCH to PCHL) and second-step (from PCHL to TCDL) conversions. Crystal structure analyses of wild-type LinBMI and its seven point mutants indicated how each mutated residue contributed to the first- and second-step conversions by LinBMI. The dynamics simulation analyses of wild-type LinBMI and LinBUT revealed that the entrance of the substrate access tunnel of LinBUT was more flexible than that of LinBMI, which could lead to the different efficiencies of dehalogenation activity between these dehalogenases.
PMCID: PMC3676048  PMID: 23564170
6.  Design and Experimental Application of a Novel Non-Degenerate Universal Primer Set that Amplifies Prokaryotic 16S rRNA Genes with a Low Possibility to Amplify Eukaryotic rRNA Genes 
The deep sequencing of 16S rRNA genes amplified by universal primers has revolutionized our understanding of microbial communities by allowing the characterization of the diversity of the uncultured majority. However, some universal primers also amplify eukaryotic rRNA genes, leading to a decrease in the efficiency of sequencing of prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes with possible mischaracterization of the diversity in the microbial community. In this study, we compared 16S rRNA gene sequences from genome-sequenced strains and identified candidates for non-degenerate universal primers that could be used for the amplification of prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes. The 50 identified candidates were investigated to calculate their coverage for prokaryotic and eukaryotic rRNA genes, including those from uncultured taxa and eukaryotic organelles, and a novel universal primer set, 342F-806R, covering many prokaryotic, but not eukaryotic, rRNA genes was identified. This primer set was validated by the amplification of 16S rRNA genes from a soil metagenomic sample and subsequent pyrosequencing using the Roche 454 platform. The same sample was also used for pyrosequencing of the amplicons by employing a commonly used primer set, 338F-533R, and for shotgun metagenomic sequencing using the Illumina platform. Our comparison of the taxonomic compositions inferred by the three sequencing experiments indicated that the non-degenerate 342F-806R primer set can characterize the taxonomic composition of the microbial community without substantial bias, and is highly expected to be applicable to the analysis of a wide variety of microbial communities.
PMCID: PMC3989492  PMID: 24277737
16S rRNA; primer design; non-degenerate primer; microbial community
7.  Revised Nomenclature for Transposable Genetic Elements 
Plasmid  2008;60(3):10.1016/j.plasmid.2008.08.001.
Transposable DNA elements occur naturally in the genomes of nearly all species of prokaryotes. A proposal for a uniform transposable element nomenclature was published prominently in the 1970s but is not, at present, available online even in abstract form, and many of the newly discovered elements have been named without reference to it. We propose here an updated version of the original nomenclature system for all of the various types of prokaryotic, autonomous, transposable elements excluding insertion sequences, for which a nomenclature system already exists. The use of this inclusive and sequential Tn numbering system for transposable elements described here recognizes the ease of interspecies spread of individual elements, and allows for the naming of mosaic elements containing segments from two or more previously described types of transposons or plasmids. It will guard against a future necessity to rename elements following changes in bacterial nomenclature which occurs constantly with our increased understanding of bacterial phylogenies and taxonomic groupings. It also takes into account the increasing importance of metagenomic sequencing projects and the continued identification of new mobile elements from unknown hosts.
PMCID: PMC3836210  PMID: 18778731
8.  Complete Genome Sequence of Ralstonia pickettii DTP0602, a 2,4,6-Trichlorophenol Degrader 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(6):e00903-13.
Ralstonia pickettii strain DTP0602 utilizes 2,4,6-trichlorophenol as its sole carbon and energy source. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of strain DTP0602, which comprises three chromosomes and no plasmids. We also found that the two had gene clusters responsible for the degradation of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol are located on the 2.9-Mb chromosome 2.
PMCID: PMC3814637  PMID: 24179121
9.  Complete Genome Sequence of Acidovorax sp. Strain KKS102, a Polychlorinated-Biphenyl Degrader 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(24):6970-6971.
We report the complete genome sequence of Acidovorax sp. strain KKS102, a polychlorinated-biphenyl-degrading strain isolated from a soil sample in Tokyo. The genome contains a single circular 5,196,935-bp chromosome and no plasmids.
PMCID: PMC3510582  PMID: 23209225
10.  Conjugal Transfer of Polychlorinated Biphenyl/Biphenyl Degradation Genes in Acidovorax sp. Strain KKS102, Which Are Located on an Integrative and Conjugative Element 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(16):4237-4248.
A polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)/biphenyl degradation gene cluster in Acidovorax sp. strain KKS102, which is very similar to that in Tn4371 from Cupriavidus oxalaticus A5, was transferred to several proteobacterial strains by conjugation. The mobilized DNA fragment consisted of 61,807 bp and carried genes for mating-pair formation (mpf), DNA transfer (dtr), integrase (int), and replication-partition proteins (rep-parAB). In the transconjugants, transferred DNA was integrated at ATTGCATCAG or similar sequences. The circular-form integrative and conjugative element (ICE) was detected by PCR, and quantitative PCR analyses revealed that, in KKS102 cells, the ratio of the circular form to the integrated form was very low (approximately 10−5). The circular form was not detected in a mutant of the int gene, which was located at the extreme left and transcribed in the inward direction, and the level of int transcriptional activity was much higher in the circular form than in the integrated form. These findings clearly demonstrated that the genes for PCB/biphenyl degradation in KKS102 cells are located on an ICE, which was named ICEKKS1024677. Comparisons of similar ICE-like elements collected from the public database suggested that those of beta- and gammaproteobacteria were distinguishable from other ICE-like elements, including those in alphaproteobacteria, with respect to the gene composition and gene organization.
PMCID: PMC3416211  PMID: 22685277
11.  Complete Genome Sequence of the Representative γ-Hexachlorocyclohexane-Degrading Bacterium Sphingobium japonicum UT26 ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(21):5852-5853.
Sphingobium japonicum strain UT26 utilizes γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH), a man-made chlorinated pesticide that causes serious environmental problems due to its toxicity and long persistence, as a sole source of carbon and energy. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of UT26, which consists of two chromosomes and three plasmids. The 15 lin genes involved in γ-HCH degradation are dispersed on the two chromosomes and one of the three plasmids.
PMCID: PMC2953701  PMID: 20817768
13.  Complete Nucleotide Sequence of TOL Plasmid pDK1 Provides Evidence for Evolutionary History of IncP-7 Catabolic Plasmids▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(17):4337-4347.
To understand the mechanisms for structural diversification of Pseudomonas-derived toluene-catabolic (TOL) plasmids, the complete sequence of a self-transmissible plasmid pDK1 with a size of 128,921 bp from Pseudomonas putida HS1 was determined. Comparative analysis revealed that (i) pDK1 consisted of a 75.6-kb IncP-7 plasmid backbone and 53.2-kb accessory gene segments that were bounded by transposon-associated regions, (ii) the genes for conjugative transfer of pDK1 were highly similar to those of MOBH group of mobilizable plasmids, and (iii) the toluene-catabolic (xyl) gene clusters of pDK1 were derived through homologous recombination, transposition, and site-specific recombination from the xyl gene clusters homologous to another TOL plasmid, pWW53. The minireplicons of pDK1 and its related IncP-7 plasmids, pWW53 and pCAR1, that contain replication and partition genes were maintained in all of six Pseudomonas strains tested, but not in alpha- or betaproteobacterial strains. The recipient host range of conjugative transfer of pDK1 was, however, limited to two Pseudomonas strains. These results indicate that IncP-7 plasmids are essentially narrow-host-range and self-transmissible plasmids that encode MOBH group-related transfer functions and that the host range of IncP-7-specified conjugative transfer was, unlike the situation in other well-known plasmids, narrower than that of its replication.
PMCID: PMC2937381  PMID: 20581207
14.  Characterization of the traD Operon of Naphthalene-Catabolic Plasmid NAH7: a Host-Range Modifier in Conjugative Transfer▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(19):6281-6289.
Pseudomonas putida G7 carries a naphthalene-catabolic and self-transmissible plasmid, NAH7, which belongs to the IncP-9 incompatibility group. Adjacent to the putative origin of conjugative transfer (oriT) of NAH7 are three genes, traD, traE, and traF, whose functions and roles in conjugation were previously unclear. These three genes were transcribed monocistronically and thus were designated the traD operon. Mutation of the three genes in the traD operon resulted in 10- to 105-fold decreases in the transfer frequencies of the plasmids from Pseudomonas to Pseudomonas and Escherichia coli and from E. coli to E. coli. On the other hand, the traD operon was essential for the transfer of NAH7 from E. coli to Pseudomonas strains. These results indicated that the traD operon is a host-range modifier in the conjugative transfer of NAH7. The TraD, TraE, and TraF proteins were localized in the cytoplasm, periplasm, and membrane, respectively, in strain G7 cells. Our use of a bacterial two-hybrid assay system showed that TraE interacted in vivo with other essential components for conjugative transfer, including TraB (coupling protein), TraC (relaxase), and MpfH (a channel subunit in the mating pair formation system).
PMCID: PMC2566000  PMID: 18676671
15.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of a haloalkane dehalogenase, DbjA, from Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110 
A haloalkane dehalogenase, DbjA, was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using PEG 4000 as a precipitant. The crystal belongs to the orthorhombic system, space group P21212 and diffracts to 1.75 Å resolution.
Haloalkane dehalogenases are key enzymes for the degradation of halogenated aliphatic pollutants. The haloalkane dehalogenase DbjA constitutes a novel substrate-specificity class with high catalytic activity for β-methylated haloalkanes. In order to reveal the mechanism of its substrate specificity, DbjA has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The best crystals were obtained using the microseeding technique with a reservoir solution consisting of 17–19.5%(w/v) PEG 4000, 0.2 M calcium acetate and 0.1 M Tris–HCl pH 7.7–8.0. The space group of the DbjA crystal is P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 212.9, b = 117.8, c = 55.8 Å. The crystal diffracts to 1.75 Å resolution.
PMCID: PMC2330215  PMID: 17401198
haloalkane dehalogenases; biodegradation; α/β hydrolases; rhizobia
16.  Construction of Signature-tagged Mutant Library in Mesorhizobium loti as a Powerful Tool for Functional Genomics 
Rhizobia are nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria that establish endosymbiosis with some leguminous plants. The completion of several rhizobial genome sequences provides opportunities for genome-wide functional studies of the physiological roles of many rhizobial genes. In order to carry out genome-wide phenotypic screenings, we have constructed a large mutant library of the nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacterium, Mesorhizobium loti, by transposon mutagenesis. Transposon insertion mutants were generated using the signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) technique and a total of 29 330 independent mutants were obtained. Along with the collection of transposon mutants, we have determined the transposon insertion sites for 7892 clones, and confirmed insertions in 3680 non-redundant M. loti genes (50.5% of the total number of M. loti genes). Transposon insertions were randomly distributed throughout the M. loti genome without any bias toward G+C contents of insertion target sites and transposon plasmids used for the mutagenesis. We also show the utility of STM mutants by examining the specificity of signature tags and test screenings for growth- and nodulation-deficient mutants. This defined mutant library allows for genome-wide forward- and reverse-genetic functional studies of M. loti and will serve as an invaluable resource for researchers to further our understanding of rhizobial biology.
PMCID: PMC2575893  PMID: 18658183
Mesorhizobium loti; signature-tagged mutagenesis; mutant library; reverse genetics
17.  GenomeMatcher: A graphical user interface for DNA sequence comparison 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:376.
The number of available genome sequences is increasing, and easy-to-use software that enables efficient comparative analysis is needed.
We developed GenomeMatcher, a stand-alone software package for Mac OS X. GenomeMatcher executes BLAST and MUMmer, and the detected similarities are displayed in two-dimensional and parallel views with similarity values indicated by color. Selection and re-computation of any subregions is easily performed and allows flexible and in-depth analysis. Furthermore, symbols for annotation data are displayed along the views, and the user can relate the genomic differences with annotation data. While bl2seq allows sub-Giga base comparison, three alignment programs, bl2seq, MAFFT and ClustalW, together with a dotmatch program allow comparative analysis of single-nucleotide level resolution. GenomeMatcher images can be saved as PDF and TIFF files for presentation. As examples of graphical ability of GenomeMatcher to show similarity in colors, we show two cases in Burkholderia and Vivrio strains that the nucleotide sequence of the second largest chromosome changes more rapidly than the largest chromosome.
GenomeMatcher is efficient and easy-to-use stand-alone software for in-depth comparative analysis of two sequences. GenomeMatcher is useful for detecting similarities in DNA sequences ranging in size from a few to sub-Giga bases.
PMCID: PMC2553346  PMID: 18793444
18.  Identification and Characterization of Genes Encoding a Putative ABC-Type Transporter Essential for Utilization of γ-Hexachlorocyclohexane in Sphingobium japonicum UT26▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(10):3712-3720.
Sphingobium japonicum UT26 utilizes γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH) as its sole source of carbon and energy. In our previous studies, we cloned and characterized genes encoding enzymes for the conversion of γ-HCH to β-ketoadipate in UT26. In this study, we analyzed a mutant obtained by transposon mutagenesis and identified and characterized new genes encoding a putative ABC-type transporter essential for the utilization of γ-HCH in strain UT26. This putative ABC transporter consists of four components, permease, ATPase, periplasmic protein, and lipoprotein, encoded by linK, linL, linM, and linN, respectively. Mutation and complementation analyses indicated that all the linKLMN genes are required, probably as a set, for γ-HCH utilization in UT26. Furthermore, the mutant cells deficient in this putative ABC transporter showed (i) higher γ-HCH degradation activity and greater accumulation of the toxic dead-end product 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP), (ii) higher sensitivity to 2,5-DCP itself, and (iii) higher permeability of hydrophobic compounds than the wild-type cells. These results strongly suggested that LinKLMN are involved in γ-HCH utilization by controlling membrane hydrophobicity. This study clearly demonstrated that a cellular factor besides catabolic enzymes and transcriptional regulators is essential for utilization of xenobiotic compounds in bacterial cells.
PMCID: PMC1913331  PMID: 17369300
19.  Region-Specific Insertion of Transposons in Combination with Selection for High Plasmid Transferability and Stability Accounts for the Structural Similarity of IncP-1 Plasmids▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(8):3091-3098.
The overall architecture of IncP-1 plasmids is very conserved in that the accessory genes are typically located in one or two specific regions: between oriV and trfA and between the tra and trb operons. Various hypotheses have been formulated to explain this, but none have been tested experimentally. We investigated whether this structural similarity is due to region-specific transposition alone or also is reliant on selection for plasmids with insertions limited to these two regions. We first examined the transposition of Tn21Km into IncP-1β plasmid pBP136 and found that most Tn21Km insertions (67%) were located around oriV. A similar experiment using the oriV region of IncP-1β plasmid pUO1 confirmed these results. We then tested the transferability, stability, and fitness cost of different pBP136 derivatives to determine if impairment of these key plasmid characters explained the conserved plasmid architecture. Most of the pBP136 derivatives with insertions in transfer genes were no longer transferable. The plasmids with insertions in the oriV-trfA and tra-trb regions were more stable than other plasmid variants, and one of these also showed a significantly lower fitness cost. In addition, our detailed sequence analysis of IncP-1 plasmids showed that Tn402/5053-like transposons are situated predominantly between the tra and trb operons and close to the putative resolution site for the ParA resolvase, a potential hot spot for those transposons. Our study presents the first empirical evidence that region-specific insertion of transposons in combination with selection for transferable and stable plasmids explains the structural similarity of IncP-1 plasmids.
PMCID: PMC1855856  PMID: 17277066
20.  Complete Nucleotide Sequence of an Exogenously Isolated Plasmid, pLB1, Involved in γ-Hexachlorocyclohexane Degradation▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2006;72(11):6923-6933.
The α-proteobacterial strain Sphingobium japonicum UT26 utilizes a highly chlorinated pesticide, γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH), as a sole source of carbon and energy, and haloalkane dehalogenase LinB catalyzes the second step of γ-HCH degradation in UT26. Functional complementation of a linB mutant of UT26, UT26DB, was performed by the exogenous plasmid isolation technique using HCH-contaminated soil, leading to our successful identification of a plasmid, pLB1, carrying the linB gene. Complete sequencing analysis of pLB1, with a size of 65,998 bp, revealed that it carries (i) 50 totally annotated coding sequences, (ii) an IS6100 composite transposon containing two copies of linB, and (iii) potential genes for replication, maintenance, and conjugative transfer with low levels of similarity to other homologues. A minireplicon assay demonstrated that a 2-kb region containing the predicted repA gene and its upstream region of pLB1 functions as an autonomously replicating unit in UT26. Furthermore, pLB1 was conjugally transferred from UT26DB to other α-proteobacterial strains but not to any of the β- or γ-proteobacterial strains examined to date. These results suggest that this exogenously isolated novel plasmid contributes to the dissemination of at least some genes for γ-HCH degradation in the natural environment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed report of a plasmid involved in γ-HCH degradation.
PMCID: PMC1636184  PMID: 16963556
21.  Genomic and Functional Analysis of the IncP-9 Naphthalene-Catabolic Plasmid NAH7 and Its Transposon Tn4655 Suggests Catabolic Gene Spread by a Tyrosine Recombinase†  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(11):4057-4067.
The naphthalene-catabolic (nah) genes on the incompatibility group P-9 (IncP-9) self-transmissible plasmid NAH7 from Pseudomonas putida G7 are some of the most extensively characterized genetic determinants for bacterial aerobic catabolism of aromatic hydrocarbons. In contrast to the detailed studies of its catabolic cascade and enzymatic functions, the biological characteristics of plasmid NAH7 have remained unclear. Our sequence determination in this study together with the previously deposited sequences revealed the entire structure of NAH7 (82,232 bp). Comparison of NAH7 with two other completely sequenced IncP-9 catabolic plasmids, pDTG1 and pWW0, revealed that the three plasmids share very high nucleotide similarities in a 39-kb region encoding the basic plasmid functions (the IncP-9 backbone). The backbone of NAH7 is phylogenetically more related to that of pDTG1 than that of pWW0. These three plasmids carry their catabolic gene clusters at different positions on the IncP-9 backbone. All of the NAH7-specified nah genes are located on a class II transposon, Tn4655. Our analysis of the Tn4655-encoded site-specific recombination system revealed that (i) a novel tyrosine recombinase, TnpI, catalyzed both the intra- and intermolecular recombination between two copies of the attI site, (ii) the functional attI site was located within a 119-bp segment, and (iii) the site-specific strand exchange occurred within a 30-bp segment in the 41-bp CORE site. Our results and the sequence data of other naphthalene-catabolic plasmids, pDTG1 and pND6-1, suggest a potential role of the TnpI-attI recombination system in the establishment of these catabolic plasmids.
PMCID: PMC1482893  PMID: 16707697
22.  Characterization of the Replication, Maintenance, and Transfer Features of the IncP-7 Plasmid pCAR1, Which Carries Genes Involved in Carbazole and Dioxin Degradation†  
Isolated from Pseudomonas resinovorans CA10, pCAR1 is a 199-kb plasmid that carries genes involved in the degradation of carbazole and dioxin. The nucleotide sequence of pCAR1 has been determined previously. In this study, we characterized pCAR1 in terms of its replication, maintenance, and conjugation. By constructing miniplasmids of pCAR1 and testing their establishment in Pseudomonas putida DS1, we show that pCAR1 replication is due to the repA gene and its upstream DNA region. The repA gene and putative oriV region could be separated in P. putida DS1, and the oriV region was determined to be located within the 345-bp region between the repA and parW genes. Incompatibility testing using the minireplicon of pCAR1 and IncP plasmids indicated that pCAR1 belongs to the IncP-7 group. Monitoring of the maintenance properties of serial miniplasmids in nonselective medium, and mutation and complementation analyses of the parWABC genes, showed that the stability of pCAR1 is attributable to the products of the parWAB genes. In mating assays, the transfer of pCAR1 from CA10 was detected in a CA10 derivative that was cured of pCAR1 (CA10dm4) and in P. putida KT2440 at frequencies of 3 × 10−1 and 3 × 10−3 per donor strain, respectively. This is the first report of the characterization of this completely sequenced IncP-7 plasmid.
PMCID: PMC1472330  PMID: 16672459
23.  Functional Analysis of Unique Class II Insertion Sequence IS1071 
Various xenobiotic-degrading genes on many catabolic plasmids are often flanked by two copies of an insertion sequence, IS1071. This 3.2-kb IS element has long (110-bp) terminal inverted repeats (IRs) and a transposase gene that are phylogenetically related to those of the class II transposons. However, the transposition mechanism of IS1071 has remained unclear. Our study revealed that IS1071 was only able to transpose at high frequencies in two environmental β-proteobacterial strains, Comamonas testosteroni and Delftia acidovorans, and not in any of the bacteria examined which belong to the α- and γ-proteobacteria. IS1071 was found to have the functional features of the class II transposons in that (i) the final product of the IS1071 transposition was a cointegrate of its donor and target DNA molecules connected by two directly repeated copies of IS1071, one at each junction; (ii) a 5-bp duplication of the target sequence was observed at the insertion site; and (iii) a tnpA mutation of IS1071 was efficiently complemented by supplying the wild-type tnpA gene in trans. Deletion analysis of the IS1071 IR sequences indicated that nearly the entire region of the IRs was required for its transposition, suggesting that the interaction between the transposase and IRs of IS1071 might be different from that of the other well-characterized class II transposons.
PMCID: PMC1352228  PMID: 16391056
24.  Two Rhizobial Strains, Mesorhizobium loti MAFF303099 and Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110, Encode Haloalkane Dehalogenases with Novel Structures and Substrate Specificities 
Haloalkane dehalogenases are key enzymes for the degradation of halogenated aliphatic pollutants. Two rhizobial strains, Mesorhizobium loti MAFF303099 and Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110, have open reading frames (ORFs), mlr5434 and blr1087, respectively, that encode putative haloalkane dehalogenase homologues. The crude extracts of Escherichia coli strains expressing mlr5434 and blr1087 showed the ability to dehalogenate 18 halogenated compounds, indicating that these ORFs indeed encode haloalkane dehalogenases. Therefore, these ORFs were referred to as dmlA (dehalogenase from Mesorhizobium loti) and dbjA (dehalogenase from Bradyrhizobium japonicum), respectively. The principal component analysis of the substrate specificities of various haloalkane dehalogenases clearly showed that DbjA and DmlA constitute a novel substrate specificity class with extraordinarily high activity towards β-methylated compounds. Comparison of the circular dichroism spectra of DbjA and other dehalogenases strongly suggested that DbjA contains more α-helices than the other dehalogenases. The dehalogenase activity of resting cells and Northern blot analyses both revealed that the dmlA and dbjA genes were expressed under normal culture conditions in MAFF303099 and USDA110 strain cells, respectively.
PMCID: PMC1183339  PMID: 16085827
25.  High-Temperature-Induced Transposition of Insertion Elements in Burkholderia multivorans ATCC 17616 
An efficient and quantitative method to analyze the transposition of various insertion sequence (IS) elements in Burkholderia multivorans ATCC 17616 was devised. pGEN500, a plasmid carrying a Bacillus subtilis-derived sacB gene, was introduced into ATCC 17616 cells, and 25% of their sucrose-resistant derivatives were found to carry various IS elements on pGEN500. A PCR-based experimental protocol, in which a mixture of several specific primer pairs was used, revealed that pGEN500 captured, in addition to five previously reported IS elements (IS401, IS402, IS406, IS407, and IS408), three novel IS elements, ISBmu1, ISBmu2, and ISBmu3. The global transposition frequency of these IS elements was enhanced more than sevenfold under a high-temperature condition (42°C) but not under oxidative stress or starvation conditions. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the elevated transposition activities of several IS elements at a high temperature. The efficient experimental protocol developed in this study will be useful in quantitatively and simultaneously investigating various IS elements, as well as in capturing novel functional mobile elements from a wide variety of bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1082539  PMID: 15812007

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