Type II restriction enzymes are paired with modification enzymes that protect type II restriction sites from cleavage by methylating them. A plasmid carrying a type II restriction-modification gene complex is not easily replaced by an incompatible plasmid because loss of the former leads to cell death through chromosome cleavage. In the present work, we looked to see whether a chromosomally located restriction-modification gene complex could be replaced by a homologous stretch of DNA. We tried to replace the PaeR71 gene complex on the Escherichia coli chromosome by transducing a homologous stretch of PaeR71-modified DNA. The replacement efficiency of the restriction-modification complex was lower than expected. Some of the resulting recombinant clones retained the recipient restriction-modification gene complex as well as the homologous DNA (donor allele), and slowly lost the donor allele in the absence of selection. Analysis of their genome-wide rearrangements by Southern hybridization, inverse polymerase chain reaction (iPCR) and sequence determination demonstrated the occurrence of unequal homologous recombination between copies of the transposon IS3. It was strongly suggested that multiple rounds of unequal IS3-IS3 recombination caused large-scale duplication and inversion of the chromosome, and that only one of the duplicated copies of the recipient PaeR71 was replaced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology