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. 2011 Nov 4;2(4):853-68.
doi: 10.3390/genes2040853.

Occurrence of Plasmids in the Aromatic Degrading Bacterioplankton of the Baltic Sea

Free PMC article

Occurrence of Plasmids in the Aromatic Degrading Bacterioplankton of the Baltic Sea

Jekaterina Jutkina et al. Genes (Basel). .
Free PMC article


Plasmids are mobile genetic elements that provide their hosts with many beneficial traits including in some cases the ability to degrade different aromatic compounds. To fulfill the knowledge gap regarding catabolic plasmids of the Baltic Sea water, a total of 209 biodegrading bacterial strains were isolated and screened for the presence of these mobile genetic elements. We found that both large and small plasmids are common in the cultivable Baltic Sea bacterioplankton and are particularly prevalent among bacterial genera Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter. Out of 61 plasmid-containing strains (29% of all isolates), 34 strains were found to carry large plasmids, which could be associated with the biodegradative capabilities of the host bacterial strains. Focusing on the diversity of IncP-9 plasmids, self-transmissible m-toluate (TOL) and salicylate (SAL) plasmids were detected. Sequencing the repA gene of IncP-9 carrying isolates revealed a high diversity within IncP-9 plasmid family, as well as extended the assumed bacterial host species range of the IncP-9 representatives. This study is the first insight into the genetic pool of the IncP-9 catabolic plasmids in the Baltic Sea bacterioplankton.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Phylogenetic analysis of repA gene sequences amplified with IncP-9 plasmid-targeted primers. Neighbor-joining unrooted phylogenetic tree of IncP-9 plasmid family is constructed based on 355 bp partial repA gene sequence analysis. The plasmids isolated in this study are shown in bold letters. Ovals define plasmid branches: pWW0-branch and pDTG1-branch. Plasmid subgroups of particular interest are rectangle shaped. Bootstrap values (out of 1,000) are shown adjacent to branch nodes. The scale bar shows the number of substitutions per site. pNL15, pBS265, NAH7, pM3, pWW0, pMG18, pSVS15, pNAH20 sequences represent the known different IncP-9 subgroups, named with the letters of Greek alphabet.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Water samples collection sites from the Baltic Sea regions A, B, C, D near Estonia. Map of the Baltic Sea was obtained from Internet source [32] and modified.

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