Molecular characterization of the resolvase gene, res, carried by a multicopy plasmid from Clostridium perfringens: common evolutionary origin for prokaryotic site-specific recombinases

Authors

  • T. Garnier,

    1. Unité des Applications du Génie Génétique;
    2. Present address (for correspondence): Unité de Biochimie des Régulations Cellulaires, Institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Parts Cedex 15, France.
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  • W. Saurin,

    1. Unite de Programmation Moleculaire et Toxicologie Génétique institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.
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  • S. T. Cole

    1. Unité des Applications du Génie Génétique;
    2. Present address (for correspondence): Unité de Biochimie des Régulations Cellulaires, Institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Parts Cedex 15, France.
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    • *

      For correspondence.


Summary

Clostridium perfringens strain CPN50 harbours a 10.2 kb plasmid known as plP404 which, in addition to a set of UV-inducible genes involved in bacteriocin production, carries res, a gene probably encoding a site-specific recombinase. The RES protein is highly homologous to the resolvases of transposons from both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria as well as enzymes involved in site-specific DNA inversion. A likely role for the RES protein would be to stabilize plP404 by reducing the number of plasmid multimers resulting from homologous recombination. A putative resolution site for RES action was found overlapping the res promoter. Phylogenetic analysis of the primary structures of ten site-specific recombinases suggested a common descent and showed the RES protein to be closest to the resolvase encoded by Tn917 from Strepfococcus faecalis.

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