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Transduction-like gene transfer in the methanogen Methanococcus voltaeStrain PS of Methanococcus voltae (a methanogenic, anaerobic archaebacterium) was shown to generate spontaneously 4.4-kbp chromosomal DNA fragments that are fully protected from DNase and that, upon contact with a cell, transform it genetically. This activity, here called VTA (voltae transfer agent), affects all markers tested: three different auxotrophies (histidine, purine, and cobalamin) and resistance to BES (2-bromoethanesulfonate, an inhibitor of methanogenesis). VTA was most effectively prepared by culture filtration. This process disrupted a fraction of the M. voltae cells (which have only an S-layer covering their cytoplasmic membrane). VTA was rapidly inactivated upon storage. VTA particles were present in cultures at concentrations of approximately two per cell. Gene transfer activity varied from a minimum of 2 x 10(-5) (BES resistance) to a maximum of 10(-3) (histidine independence) per donor cell. Very little VTA was found free in culture supernatants. The phenomenon is functionally similar to generalized transduction, but there is no evidence, for the time being, of intrinsically viral (i.e., containing a complete viral genome) particles. Consideration of VTA DNA size makes the existence of such viral particles unlikely. If they exist, they must be relatively few in number;perhaps they differ from VTA particles in size and other properties and thus escaped detection. Digestion of VTA DNA with the AluI restriction enzyme suggests that it is a random sample of the bacterial DNA, except for a 0.9-kbp sequence which is amplified relative to the rest of the bacterial chromosome. A VTA-sized DNA fraction was demonstrated in a few other isolates of M. voltae.
Document ID
20040141966
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Bertani, G. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of bacteriology
Volume: 181
Issue: 10
ISSN: 0021-9193
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other