The complete nucleotide sequence of pRGO1, a cryptic plasmid from Propionibacterium acidipropionici E214, was determined. pRGO1 is 6,868 bp long, and its G+C content is 65.0%. Frame analysis of the sequence revealed six open reading frames, which were designated Orf1 to Orf6. The deduced amino acid sequences of Orf1 and Orf2 showed extensive similarities to an initiator of plasmid replication, the Rep protein, of various plasmids of gram-positive bacteria. The amino acid sequence of the putative translation product of orf3 exhibited a high degree of similarity to the amino acid sequences of DNA invertase in several bacteria. For the putative translation products of orf4, orf5, and orf6, on the other hand, no homologous sequences were found. The function of these open reading frames was studied by deletion analysis. A shuttle vector, pPK705, was constructed for shuttling between Escherichia coli and a Propionibacterium strain containing orf1 (repA), orf2 (repB), orf5, and orf6 from pRGO1, pUC18, and the hygromycin B-resistant gene as a drug marker. Shuttle vector pPK705 successfully transformed Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii IFO12426 by electroporation at an efficiency of 8 x 106 CFU/μg of DNA under optimized conditions. Transformation of various species of propionibacteria with pPK705 was also performed at efficiencies of about 104 to 107 CFU/μg of DNA. The vector was stably maintained in strains of P. freudenreichii subsp. shermanii, P. freudenreichii, P. pentosaceum, and P. freudenreichii subsp. freudenreichii grown under nonselective conditions. Successful manipulation of a host-vector system in propionibacteria should facilitate genetic studies and lead to creation of genes that are useful industrially.
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