A first global analysis of plasmid encoded proteins in the ACLAME database


  • Editor: Rafael Giraldo

Correspondence: Raphaël Leplae, SCMBB, CP 263, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bvd du Triomphe, B1050 Bruxelles, Belgium. Tel.: +32 2 6505426; fax: +32 2 6505425; e-mail: raphael@scmbb.ulb.ac.be


Many plasmids are mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and, as other members of that group of DNA entities, their genomes display a mosaic and combinatorial structure, making their classification extremely difficult. As other MGEs, plasmids play a major role in horizontal transfer of genetic materials and genome reorganization. Yet, the full impact of such phenomenon on major properties of the host cell, such as pathogenicity, the ability to use new carbon sources or resistance to antibiotics, remains to be fully assessed. More and more complete plasmid genome sequences are available. However, in the absence of standards for storing plasmid sequence data and annotating genes and gene products on sequenced plasmid genomes, the resulting information remains rather limited. Using 503 sequenced plasmids organized in the ACLAME database, we discuss how, by structuring information on the genomes, their host and the proteins they code for, one can gain access to either global or more detailed analysis of the plasmid sequence information, as illustrated by a network representation of the relationships between plasmids.