Two novel conjugative plasmids from a single strain of Sulfolobus

G. Erauso, K.M. Stedman, H.J.G. van de Werken, W. Zillig, J. van der Oost

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Two conjugative plasmids (CPs) were isolated and characterized from the same 'Sulfolobus islandicus' strain, SOG2/4, The plasmids were separated from each other and transferred into Sulfolobus soltataricus. One has a high copy number and is not stable (pSOG1) whereas the other has a low copy number and is stably maintained (pSOG2). Plasmid pSOG2 is the first Sulfolobus CP found to have these characteristics. The genomes of both pSOG plasmids have been sequenced and were compared to each other and the available Sulfolobus CPs. Interestingly, apart from a very well-conserved core, 70% of the pSOG 1 and pSOG2 genomes is largely different and composed of a mixture of genes that often resemble counterparts in previously described Sulfolobus CPs. However, about 20% of the predicted genes do not have known homologues, not even in other CPs. Unlike pSOG1, pSOG2 does not contain a gene for the highly conserved PIrA protein nor for obvious homologues of partitioning proteins. Unlike pNOB8 and pKEF9, both pSOG plasmids lack the so-called clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeats (CRISPRs). The sites of recombination between the two genomes can be explained by the presence of recombination motifs previously identified in other Sulfolobus CPs. Like other Sulfolobus CPs, the pSOG plasmids possess a gene encoding an integrase of the tyrosine recombinase family. This integrase probably mediates plasmid site-specific integration into the host chromosome at the highly conserved tRNA(Glu) loci.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1968
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • thermophilic archaeon sulfolobus
  • complete nucleotide-sequence
  • trag-like proteins
  • hyperthermophilic archaeon
  • genetic elements
  • crenarchaeon sulfolobus
  • bacterial conjugation
  • transcription regulation
  • mobile elements
  • shuttle vectors


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