Nucleotide sequence and structural organization of the small, broad-host-range plasmid pCI411 from Leuconostoc lactis 533

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The nucleotide sequence of the Leuconostoc lactis 533 cryptic plasmid pCI411 (2926 bp) was determined. Analysis revealed the presence of three open reading frames (ORFs). ORF 1 was capable of encoding a 24.9 kDa peptide which shared homology with the replication initiation protein (RepB) from a number of Gram-positive rolling circle plasmids. ORF 2 could encode a peptide of 6.6 kDa which was homologous to the RepC protein of the lactococcal plasmid pWV01. A function could not be assigned to ORF 3, which was capable of encoding a 12.1 kDa peptide. Transcription-translation analysis indicated the presence of three peptides of the predicted molecular masses. A putative double strand origin of replication (DSO) was identified which showed strong similarity with the DSO of a number of Gram-positive plasmids including pE194 from Staphylococcus. Structural analysis identified a number of direct and indirect repeats in addition to putative recombination-specific sites (RS(A) and RS(B)) in the non-coding region of pCI411. The observed characteristics suggest that this plasmid replicates using the rolling circle mechanism. pCI411, which could be introduced into Leuconostoc, Lactococcus, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus and Bacillus is the first plasmid from the genus Leuconostoc to be characterized in such detail.

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