Replication of broad-host-range plasmid RK2 requires the protein product(s) of the plasmid-encoded trfA gene to initiate replication at oriV, the vegetative replication origin. The trfA gene contains two translational starts which direct translation of two polypeptides, of 382 and 285 amino acids, which differ by the 97 amino acids at their N-terminus. Nonpolar insertions which abolish expression of the larger TrfA polypeptide but otherwise retain the trfA gene's normal expression signals severely reduce plasmid replication efficiency in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and to a lesser extent in Pseudomonas putida, but have very little effect in Escherichia coli. This indicates that the organization of the trfA gene, producing two polypeptides products, plays an important part in the broad-host-range of plasmid RK2 by providing a degree of flexibility in the way the plasmid's replication system interacts with host biochemistry.
1989. Vol. 1007, no 3