Tn5-mediated bleomycin resistance in Escherichia coli requires the expression of host genes.
The transposon Tn5 expresses a gene, ble, whose product increases the viability of Escherichia coli and also confers resistance to the DNA-cleaving antibiotic bleomycin and the DNA-alkylating agent ethylmethanesulphonate. We find that the Ble protein induces expression of an alkylation inducible gene, aidC, and that both the AidC gene product and DNA polymerase I are required for Ble to confer bleomycin resistance. These findings support models in which Ble enhances DNA repair and suggest that Tn5 confers a fitness advantage to the host bacterium by increasing the repair of spontaneous DNA lesions. Such co-operation between a transposon and its host suggests that Tn5 is a symbiotic rather than a selfish DNA element.
Blot, M; Heitman, J; Arber, W
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