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bacterial_virus-like_escape_pods

bacterial_virus-like_escape_pods - BREVIA High Frequency of...

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High Frequency of Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Oceans Lauren D. McDaniel, 1 * Elizabeth Young, 1 Jennifer Delaney, 1 Fabian Ruhnau, 2 Kim B. Ritchie, 3 John H. Paul 1 M icrobes rely on mutation and the pro- cesses of horizontal gene transfer (HGT; conjugation, transformation, and trans- duction) to acquire new traits. Gene transfer agents (GTAs) discovered in the purple nonsulfur bacte- rium Rhodobacter capsulatus (formerly Rhodo- pseudomonascapsulata ) are host-encoded viruslike elements that package random fragments of the host chromosome and are found in the genome of almost every sequenced member of the a -Proteobacteria order Rhodobacterales ( 1 ). To test whether GTAs are natural vectors of gene transfer, we grew nine strains of marine a -proteobacteria containing pu- tative GTA cassettes (table S1) and screened them for the production of GTA-like particles. Both Roseovarius nubinhibens ISM and the iso- late Reugeria mobilis 45A6 reproducibly produced putative GTA particles during stationary phase growth. We then generated genetically marked do- nor strains of R. nubinhibens and R. mobilis contain- ing the transposon Tn5. GTA production in these marked donor strains was equivalent to that of the wild-type strains.To document gene transfer frequen- cies, we subjected wild-type strains or natural com- munities from a range of environments to treatment with donor strain GTAs and documented the rates of GTA-mediated gene transfer of kanamycin resist- ance (fig. S1). In the coral reef environment, sponta- neous kanamycin resistance was 4.6 × 10 - 4 , whereas the GTA-mediated frequency was significantly higher at 2.5 × 10 - 2 ( P = 0.028, Student s t test).
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