To understand the mechanisms for structural diversification of Pseudomonas-derived toluene-catabolic (TOL) plasmids, the complete sequence of a self-transmissible plasmid pDK1 with a size of 128,921 bp from Pseudomonas putida HS1 was determined. Comparative analysis revealed that (i) pDK1 consisted of a 75.6-kb IncP-7 plasmid backbone and 53.2-kb accessory gene segments that were bounded by transposon-associated regions, (ii) the genes for conjugative transfer of pDK1 were highly similar to those of MOBH group of mobilizable plasmids, and (iii) the toluene-catabolic (xyl) gene clusters of pDK1 were derived through homologous recombination, transposition, and site-specific recombination from the xyl gene clusters homologous to another TOL plasmid, pWW53. The minireplicons of pDK1 and its related IncP-7 plasmids, pWW53 and pCAR1, that contain replication and partition genes were maintained in all of six Pseudomonas strains tested, but not in alpha- or betaproteobacterial strains. The recipient host range of conjugative transfer of pDK1 was, however, limited to two Pseudomonas strains. These results indicate that IncP-7 plasmids are essentially narrow-host-range and self-transmissible plasmids that encode MOBH group-related transfer functions and that the host range of IncP-7-specified conjugative transfer was, unlike the situation in other well-known plasmids, narrower than that of its replication.
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