Lateral transfer of rfb genes: a mobilizable ColE1-type plasmid carries the rfbO:54 (O:54 antigen biosynthesis) gene cluster from Salmonella enterica serovar Borreze.J Bacteriol. 1995 Sep; 177(18):5247-53.JB
Plasmid pWQ799 is a 6.9-kb plasmid isolated from Salmonella enterica serovar Borreze. Our previous studies have shown that the plasmid contains a functional biosynthetic gene cluster for the expression of the O:54 lipopolysaccharide O-antigen of this serovar. The minimal replicon functions of pWQ799 have been defined, and a comparison with nucleotide and protein databases revealed this replicon to be virtually identical to ColE1. This is the first report of involvement of ColE1-related plasmids in O-antigen expression. The replicon of pWQ799 is predicted to encode two RNA molecules, typical of other ColE1-type plasmids. RNAII, the putative replication primer from pWQ799, shares regions of homology with RNAII from ColE1. RNA1 is an antisense regulator of DNA replication in ColE1-related plasmids. The coding region for RNAI from pWQ799 shares no homology with any other known RNAI sequence but is predicted to adopt a secondary structure characteristic of RNAI molecules. pWQ799 may therefore represent a new incompatibility group within this family. pWQ799 also possesses cer, rom, and mob determinants, and these differ minimally from those of ColE1. The plasmid is mobilizable in the presence of either the broad-host-range helper plasmid pRK2013 or the IncI1 plasmid R64drd86. Mobilization and transfer of pWQ799 to other organisms provides the first defined mechanism for lateral transfer of O-antigen biosynthesis genes in S. enterica and explains both the distribution of related plasmids and coexpression of the O:54 factor with other O-factors in different Salmonella serovars. The base composition of the pWQ799 replicon sequences gives an average percent G+C value typical of Salmonella spp. In contrast, the percent G+C value is dramatically lower with rfb0:54, consistent with the possibility that the cluster was acquired from an organism with much lower G+C composition.