Jun 2, 2016

Highly variable individual donor cell fates characterize robust horizontal gene transfer of an integrative and conjugative element

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
François DelavatJan Roelof van der Meer

Abstract

Horizontal gene transfer is an important evolutionary mechanism for bacterial adaptation. However, given the typical low transfer frequencies in a bacterial population, little is known about the fate and interplay of donor cells and the mobilized DNA during transfer. Here we study transfer of an integrative and conjugative element (ICE) among individual live bacterial cells. ICEs are widely distributed mobile DNA elements that are different than plasmids because they reside silent in the host chromosome and are maintained through vertical descent. Occasionally, ICEs become active, excise, and transmit their DNA to a new recipient, where it is reintegrated. We develop a fluorescent tool to differentiate excision, transfer, and reintegration of a model ICE named ICEclc (for carrying the clc genes for chlorocatechol metabolism) among single Pseudomonas cells by using time-lapse microscopy. We find that ICEclc activation is initiated in stationary phase cells, but excision and transfer predominantly occur only when such cells have been presented with new nutrients. Donors with activated ICE develop a number of different states, characterized by reduced cell division rates or growth arrest, persistence, or lysis, concomitant with IC...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Pathologic Cytolysis
Metabolic Process, Cellular
Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen 2
Peptide Nucleic Acids
Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Pseudomonas Infections
Bacterial cell
Nucleus Centralis Latocellularis
3-chlorocatechol Metabolic Process
Cell Fate

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