Pseudomonas putida DOT-T1E has the capacity to grow in the presence of high concentrations of toluene. This ability is mainly conferred by an efflux pump encoded in a self-transmissible 133 kb plasmid named pGRT1. Sequence analysis of the pGRT1 plasmid revealed several key features. Most of the genes related to the plasmid maintenance functions show similarity with those encoded on pBVIE04 from Burkholderia vietnamensis G4, and knock-out mutants in several of these genes confirmed their roles. Two additional plasmid DNA fragments were incorporated into the plasmid backbone by recombination and/or transposition; in these DNA regions, apart from multiple recombinases and transposases, several stress-related and environmentally relevant functions are encoded. We report that plasmid pGRT1 not only confers the cells with tolerance to toluene but also resistance to ultraviolet light. We show here the implication of a new protein in solvent tolerance which controls the level of expression of the TtgGHI efflux pump, as well as the implication of a protein with homology to the universal stress protein in solvent tolerance and ultraviolet light resistance. Furthermore, this plasmid encodes functions that allow the cells to chemotactically respond to toluene and participate in iron scavenging.
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