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Keywords:

  • aquatic environments;
  • bacteriophage UT1;
  • generalized transduction;
  • horizontal gene transfer;
  • pseudolysogeny;
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Abstract

A pseudolysogenic, generalized transducing bacteriophage, UT1, isolated from a natural freshwater habitat, is capable of mediating the transfer of both chromosomal andplasmid DNA between strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Several chromosomal alleles from three different P. aeruginosa strains were found to transduce at frequencies from 10-8 to 10-10 transductants per PFU at multiplicities of infection (MOD between 0.1 and 1. Transduction frequencies of certain alleles increased up to 1000-fold as MOIs were decreased to 0.01. UT1 is also capable of transducing plasmid DNA to indigenous populations of microorganisms in natural lake-water environments. Data obtained in this study suggest that environmentally endemic bacteriophages such as UT1 are formidable transducers of naturally occurring microbial communities. It should be possible to develop model systems to test transduction in freshwater environments using components derived exclusively from these environments.