Identification and characterization of a novel type of replication terminator with bidirectional activity on the Bacillus subtilis theta plasmid pLS20



We have sequenced and analysed a 3.1 kb fragment of the 55 kb endogenous Bacillus subtilis plasmid pLS20 containing its replication functions. Just outside the region required for autonomous replication, a segment of 18bp was identified as being almost identical to part of the major B. subtilis chromosomal replication terminator. Here, we demonstrate that this segment is part of a functional replication terminator. This newly identified element, designated Ter LS20, is the first replication terminator identified on a theta plasmid from a Gram-positive bacterium. Ter LS20 is distinct from other known replication terminators in the sense that it is functional in both orientations. The region required for bipolar functionality of TerLS20 was delineated to a sequence of 29 bp, which is characterized by an imperfect dyad symmetry.