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Applied and environmental microbiology

Involvement of a chlorobenzoate-catabolic transposon, Tn5271, in community adaptation to chlorobiphenyl, chloroaniline, and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in a freshwater ecosystem.


PMID 1311543

Abstract

A chlorobenzoate-catabolic transposon (Tn5271) was introduced on a conjugative plasmid (pBRC60) in the natural host, Alcaligenes sp. strain BR60, into lake water and sediment flowthrough microcosms. Experimental microcosms were exposed to micromolar levels of 3-chlorobenzoate, 4-chloroaniline, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetate, or 3-chlorobiphenyl. The populations of the host, BR60, and organisms carrying Tn5271 were monitored over a 100-day period by use of selective plate counts and the most-probable-number-DNA hybridization method. Populations of Tn5271-carrying bacteria were significantly higher in microcosms dosed with 3-chlorobenzoate, 4-chloroaniline, and 3-chlorobiphenyl than in the control microcosms, indicating that each of these chemicals exerts a selective force on this particular genotype in natural systems. The rates of 3-chlorobenzoate uptake and respiration correlated with Tn5271-carrying populations, as did the rates of 4-chloroaniline uptake and respiration. Plasmid transfer in the 3-chlorobenzoate- and 3-chlorobiphenyl-dosed microcosms resulted in the selection of three phenotypic clusters of chlorobenzoate degraders, only one of which was closely related to the original pBRC60 (Tn5271) donor, Alcaligenes sp. strain BR60. Bacteria dominating 4-chloroaniline-dosed microcosms carried IS1071, the class II insertion sequence that brackets Tn5271, on a plasmid unrelated to pBRC60. The importance of plasmid transfer and transposition during chemical adaptation is discussed.

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