Ka, J. O., W. E. Holben, and J. M. Tiedje. 1994. Integration and excision of a 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetate acid-degradative plasmid in alcaligenes paradoxus and evidence of its natural intergeneric transfer. Journal Bacteriology 176:5284-5289.
A self-transmissible 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)-degradative plasmid, pKA2, has been identified in a new 2,4-D-degrading strain, Alcaligenes paradoxus 2811P, isolated from agricultural soil. pKA2 occurred as a 42.9-kb plasmid in strain 2811P. A derivative strain, 2811C, was isolated from a stock culture in which the entire pKA2 plasmid was apparently integrated into the host chromosome without loss of the 2,4-D phenotype. This interpretation is based on the disappearance of a free plasmid DNA band, a shift in the tfdA-hybridizing band to the chromosome, loss of transmissibility of the 2,4-D+ trait, and appropriate shifts in Southern hybridization bands of plasmid DNA compared with whole-cell DNA. The integrated plasmid of strain 2811C was excised either precisely or imprecisely after continued transfer on 2,4-D-containing medium. This suggests that a chromosome-free plasmid cycle may occur to optimize fitness under conditions of specific resource fluctuation. Another new 2,4-D-degrading strain, Pseudomonas pickettii 712, which was isolated from the same field plot but at a different time, was found to carry a plasmid that is nearly identical to pKA2. The plasmid of this strain, pKA4, is 40.9 kb long and has features in common with pKA2, such as high self-transmissibility, hybridization only to the tfdA gene among the 2,4-D-metabolic genes of 2,4-D-degradative plasmid pJP4, and similar restriction endonuclease-generated fragments. Furthermore, the genetic homology between the two plasmids was high since all fragments of pKA2 hybridized to pKA4. These results suggest that these two plasmids are closely related and thus their occurrence in two genera in nature is the result of natural horizontal gene transfer.
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