Sep 2, 2010

Mobility of plasmids

Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews : MMBR
Chris SmillieFernando de la Cruz

Abstract

Plasmids are key vectors of horizontal gene transfer and essential genetic engineering tools. They code for genes involved in many aspects of microbial biology, including detoxication, virulence, ecological interactions, and antibiotic resistance. While many studies have decorticated the mechanisms of mobility in model plasmids, the identification and characterization of plasmid mobility from genome data are unexplored. By reviewing the available data and literature, we established a computational protocol to identify and classify conjugation and mobilization genetic modules in 1,730 plasmids. This allowed the accurate classification of proteobacterial conjugative or mobilizable systems in a combination of four mating pair formation and six relaxase families. The available evidence suggests that half of the plasmids are nonmobilizable and that half of the remaining plasmids are conjugative. Some conjugative systems are much more abundant than others and preferably associated with some clades or plasmid sizes. Most very large plasmids are nonmobilizable, with evidence of ongoing domestication into secondary chromosomes. The evolution of conjugation elements shows ancient divergence between mobility systems, with relaxases and ty...Continue Reading

  • References131
  • Citations255
  • References131
  • Citations255

Mentioned in this Paper

Conjugation
Archaea
Process of Secretion
Phylogeny
Gene Transfer, Horizontal
Genomics
Chromosomes
Microbial
Virulence
Actinobacteria class

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