Integration of plasmids into the bacteriophage T4 genome.
We have analyzed the integration of plasmids into the bacteriophage T4 genome via homologous recombination. As judged by genetic selection for a plasmid-borne marker, a mutation in phage gene uvsX or uvsY essentially blocked the integration of a plasmid with homology to the T4 genome but no phage replication origin (non-origin plasmid). The strict requirement for these two proteins suggests that plasmid integration can proceed via a strand-invasion reaction similar to that catalyzed in vitro by the T4-encoded strand-exchange protein (UvsX) in concert with UvsY and gp32. In contrast to the results with the non-origin plasmid, a mutation in uvsX or uvsY reduced the integration of a T4 replication origin-containing plasmid by only 3-10-fold. These results suggest that the origin-containing plasmid integrates by both the UvsXY-dependent pathway used by the non-origin plasmid and by a UvsXY-independent pathway. The origin-containing plasmid integrated into the phage genome during a uvsX- or uvsY-mutant infection of a recA-mutant host, and therefore origin-dependent integration can occur in the absence of both phage- and host-encoded strand-exchange proteins (UvsX and RecA, respectively).
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