pIP40a, a type 1 IncC plasmid from 1969 carries the integrative element GIsul2 and a novel class II mercury resistance transposon

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Journal Article
Plasmid, 2017, 92 pp. 17 - 25
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© 2017 Elsevier Inc. The 167.5 kb sequence of the conjugative IncC plasmid pIP40a, isolated from a Pseudomonas aeruginosa in 1969, was analysed. pIP40a confers resistance to kanamycin, neomycin, ampicillin, sulphonamides and mercuric ions, and several insertions in a type 1 IncC backbone were found, including copies of IS3, Tn1000 and a novel mercury resistance transposon, Tn6182. The antibiotic resistance genes were in two locations. Tn6023, containing the aphA1 kanamycin and neomycin resistance gene, is in a partial copy of Tn1/Tn2/Tn3 (blaTEM, ampicillin resistance) in the kfrA gene, and the sul2 sulphonamide resistance gene is in the integrative element GIsul2 in the position of ARI-B islands. The 11.5 kb class II transposon Tn6182 is only distantly related to other class II transposons, with at most 33% identity between the TnpA of Tn6182 and TnpA of other group members. In addition, the inverted repeats are 37 bp rather than 38 bp, and the likely resolution enzyme is a tyrosine recombinase (TnpI). Re-annotation of GIsul2 revealed genes predicted to confer resistance to arsenate and arsenite, but resistance was not detected. The location of GIsul2 confirms it as the progenitor of the ARI-B configurations seen in many IncC plasmids isolated more recently. However, GIsul2 has integrated at the same site in type 1 and type 2 IncC plasmids, indicating that it targets this site. Analysis of the distribution of GIsul2 revealed that it in addition to its chromosomal integration site at the 3′-end of the guaA gene, it has also integrated into other plasmids, increasing its mobility.
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