Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15716446
J. Bacteriol. 2005 Mar;187(5):1740-50
Superintegrons (SIs) and multiresistant integrons (MRIs) have two main structural differences: (i) the SI platform is sedentary, while the MRI platform is commonly associated with mobile DNA elements and (ii) the recombination sites (attC) of SI gene cassette clusters are highly homogeneous, while those of MRI cassette arrays are highly variable in length and sequence. In order to determine if the latter difference was correlated with a dissimilarity in the recombination activities, we conducted a comparative study of the integron integrases of the class 1 MRI (IntI1) and the Vibrio cholerae SI (VchIntIA). We developed two assays that allowed us to independently measure the frequencies of cassette deletion and integration at the cognate attI sites. We demonstrated that the range of attC sites efficiently recombined by VchIntIA is narrower than the range of attC sites efficiently recombined by IntI1. Introduction of mutations into the V. cholerae repeats (VCRs), the attC sites of the V. cholerae SI cassettes, allowed us to map positions that affected the VchIntIA and IntI1 activities to different extents. Using a cointegration assay, we established that in E. coli, attI1-x-VCR recombination catalyzed by IntI1 was 2,600-fold more efficient than attIVch-x-VCR recombination catalyzed by VchIntIA. We performed the same experiments in V. cholerae and established that the attIVch-x-VCR recombination catalyzed by VchIntIA was 2,000-fold greater than the recombination measured in E. coli. Taken together, our results indicate that in the V. cholerae SI, the substrate recognition and recombination reactions mediated by VchIntIA might differ from the class 1 MRI paradigm.