ICETh1 and ICETh2, two interdependent mobile genetic elements in Thermus thermophilus transjugation.
Abstract: Cell to cell DNA transfer between Thermus thermophilus, or transjugation, requires the natural competence apparatus (NCA) of the recipient cell and a DNA donation machinery in the donor. In T. thermophilus HB27, two mobile genetic elements with functional similarities to Integrative and Conjugative Elements (ICEs) coexist, ICETh1 encoding the DNA transfer apparatus and ICETh2, encoding a putative replication module. Here, we demonstrate that excision and integration of both elements depend on a single tyrosine recombinase encoded by ICETh2, and that excision is not required but improves the transfer of these elements to a recipient cell. These findings along with previous results suggest that ICETh1 and ICETh2 depend on each other for spreading among T. thermophilus by transjugation.
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