Reconstitution of a staphylococcal plasmid-protein relaxation complex in vitro.

Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom.
Journal of Bacteriology (Impact Factor: 2.69). 07/2004; 186(11):3374-83. DOI: 10.1128/JB.186.11.3374-3383.2004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The isolation of plasmid-protein relaxation complexes from bacteria is indicative of the plasmid nicking-closing equilibrium in vivo that serves to ready the plasmids for conjugal transfer. In pC221 and pC223, the components required for in vivo site- and strand-specific nicking at oriT are MobC and MobA. In order to investigate the minimal requirements for nicking in the absence of host-encoded factors, the reactions were reconstituted in vitro. Purified MobA and MobC, in the presence of Mg2+ or Mn2+, were found to nick at oriT with a concomitant phosphorylation-resistant modification at the 5' end of nic. The position of nic is consistent with that determined in vivo. MobA, MobC, and Mg2+ or Mn2+ therefore represent the minimal requirements for nicking activity. Cross-complementation analyses showed that the MobC proteins possess binding specificity for oriT DNA of either plasmid and are able to complement each other in the nicking reaction. Conversely, nicking by the MobA proteins is plasmid specific. This suggests the MobA proteins may encode the nicking specificity determinant.

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    ABSTRACT: The nicking of the origin of transfer (oriT) is an essential initial step in the conjugative mobilization of plasmid DNA. In the case of staphylococcal plasmid pC221, nicking by the plasmid-specific MobA relaxase is facilitated by the DNA-binding accessory protein MobC; however, the role of MobC in this process is currently unknown. In this study, the site of MobC binding was determined by DNase I footprinting. MobC interacts with oriT DNA at two directly repeated 9 bp sequences, mcb1 and mcb2, upstream of the oriT nic site, and additionally at a third, degenerate repeat within the mobC gene, mcb3. The binding activity of the conserved sequences was confirmed indirectly by competitive electrophoretic mobility shift assays and directly by Surface Plasmon Resonance studies. Mutation at mcb2 abolished detectable nicking activity, suggesting that binding of this site by MobC is a prerequisite for nicking by MobA. Sequential site-directed mutagenesis of each binding site in pC221 has demonstrated that all three are required for mobilization. The MobA relaxase, while unable to bind to oriT DNA alone, was found to associate with a MobC-oriT complex and alter the MobC binding profile in a region between mcb2 and the nic site. Mutagenesis of oriT in this region defines a 7 bp sequence, sra, which was essential for nicking by MobA. Exchange of four divergent bases between the sra of pC221 and the related plasmid pC223 was sufficient to swap their substrate identity in a MobA-specific nicking assay. Based on these observations we propose a model of layered specificity in the assembly of pC221-family relaxosomes, whereby a common MobC:mcb complex presents the oriT substrate, which is then nicked only by the cognate MobA.
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    ABSTRACT: Conjugation is a key mechanism for horizontal gene transfer in bacteria. Some plasmids are not self-transmissible but can be mobilized by functions encoded in trans provided by other auxiliary conjugative elements. Although the transfer efficiency of mobilizable plasmids is usually lower than that of conjugative elements, mobilizable plasmidsare more frequently found in nature. In this sense, replication and mobilization can be considered as important mechanisms influencing plasmid promiscuity. Here we review the present available information on two families of small mobilizable plasmids from Gram-positive bacteria that replicate via the rolling-circle mechanism. One of these families, represented by the streptococcal plasmid pMV158, is an interesting model since it contains a specific mobilization module (MOBV) that is widely distributed among mobilizable plasmids. We discuss a mechanism in which the promiscuity of the pMV158 replicon is based on the presence of two origins of lagging strand synthesis. The current strategies to assess plasmid transfer efficiency as well as to inhibit conjugative plasmid transfer are presented. Some applications of these plasmids as biotechnological tools are also reviewed.
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    ABSTRACT: MbeC is a 13-kDa ColE1-encoded protein required for efficient mobilization of ColE1, a plasmid widely used in cloning vector technology. MbeC protein was purified and used for in vitro DNA binding, which showed that it binds specifically double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) containing the ColE1 oriT. Amino acid sequence comparison and secondary structure prediction imply that MbeC is related to the ribbon-helix-helix (RHH) protein family. Alignment with RHH members pointed to a conserved arginine (R13 in MbeC) that was mutated to alanine. The mutant MbeC(R13A) was unable to bind either single-stranded DNA or dsDNA. Limited proteolysis fragmented MbeC in two stable folding domains: the N-terminal domain, which contains the RHH motif, and the C-terminal domain, which comprises a signature shared by nicking accessory proteins. The results indicate that MbeC plays a similar role in conjugation as TraY and TrwA of plasmids F and R388, respectively. Thus, it appears that an extended, possibly universal mechanism of DNA conjugative processing exists, in which oriT-processing is carried out by relaxases assisted by homologous nicking accessory proteins. This mechanism seems to be shared by all major conjugative systems analyzed thus far.
    Journal of bacteriology 03/2009; 191(5):1446-55. DOI:10.1128/JB.01342-08 · 2.69 Impact Factor


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