Distribution and evolution of nisin sucrose elements in Lactococcus lactis.

P.J.G. Rauch, M. Beerthuyzen, W.M. de Vos

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The distribution, architecture, and conjugal capacity of nisin-sucrose elements in wild-type Lactococcus lactis strains were studied. Element architecture was analyzed with the aid of hybridizations to different probes derived from the nisin-sucrose transposon Tn5276 of L. lactis NIZO R5, including its left and right ends, the nisA gene, and IS1068 (previously designated iso-IS904), located between the left end and the nisA gene. Three classes of nisin-sucrose elements could be distinguished in the 13 strains investigated. Classes I and II consist of conjugative transposons containing a nisA gene and a nisZ gene, respectively. Representative conjugative transposons of these classes include Tn5276 (class I) from L. lactis NIZO R5 and Tn5278 (class II) from L. lactis ILC11. The class II transposon found in L. lactis NCK400 and probably all class II elements are devoid of IS1068-like elements, which eliminates the involvement of an iso-IS1068 element in conjugative transposition. Members of class III contain a nisZ gene, are nonconjugative, and do not contain sequences similar to the left end of Tn5276 at the appropriate position. The class III element from L. lactis NIZO 22186 was found to contain an iso-IS1068 element, termed IS1069, at a position corresponding to that of IS1068 in Tn5276 but in the inverted orientation. The results suggest that an iso-IS1068-mediated rearrangement is responsible for the dislocation of the transposon's left end in this strain. A model for the evolution of nisin-sucrose elements is proposed, and the practical implications for transferring nisin A or nisin Z production and immunity are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1798-1804
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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