Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15848225
Plasmid 2005 May; 53(3): 205-17
Bacillus megaterium QM B1551 contains seven plasmids. Two are small rolling circle plasmids and five are theta-replicating plasmids with cross-hybridizing replicons that define a new family of very homologous yet compatible theta replicons. Previous sequencing of several of the plasmids has shown genes with high similarity to those on the genomes and plasmids of other Gram-positive bacteria. To test the possible distribution of these plasmids, nine other B. megaterium strains and 20 other Bacillus or related species were tested for the presence of similar replicons, and specific flanking DNA by both hybridization and PCR. The theta replicons were widespread among the B. megaterium strains, and two had one or more of the rolling circle plasmids, but none of the plasmid replicon regions were observed in the other Bacillus or related species. It appears from the data that even though some plasmids carry genes suggesting horizontal transfer, their replicons seem to be unique to B. megaterium, or rarely present in related species.