An insertion sequence-dependent plasmid rearrangement in Aeromonas salmonicida causes the loss of the type three secretion system

PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33725. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033725. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


Aeromonas salmonicida, a bacterial fish pathogen, possesses a functional Type Three Secretion System (TTSS), which is essential for its virulence. The genes for this system are mainly located in a single region of the large pAsa5 plasmid. Bacteria lose the TTSS region from this plasmid through rearrangements when grown in stressful growth conditions. The A. salmonicida genome is rich in insertion sequences (ISs), which are mobile DNA elements that can cause DNA rearrangements in other bacterial species. pAsa5 possesses numerous ISs. Three IS11s from the IS256 family encircle the rearranged regions. To confirm that these IS11s are involved in pAsa5 rearrangements, 26 strains derived from strain A449 and two Canadian isolates (01-B526 and 01-B516) with a pAsa5 rearrangement were tested using a PCR approach to determine whether the rearrangements were the result of an IS11-dependent process. Nine out of the 26 strains had a positive PCR result, suggesting that the rearrangement in these strains were IS-dependent. The PCR analysis showed that all the rearrangements in the A449-derived strains were IS11-dependent process while the rearrangements in 01-B526 and 01-B516 could only be partially coupled to the action of IS11. Unidentified elements that affect IS-dependent rearrangements may be present in 01-B526 and 01-B516. Our results suggested that pAsa5 rearrangements involve IS11. This is the first study showing that ISs are involved in plasmid instability in A. salmonicida.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aeromonas salmonicida / genetics*
  • Aeromonas salmonicida / growth & development
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Rearrangement / genetics*
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / genetics*
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Bacterial Proteins