Complete sequence of the IncP-9 TOL plasmid pWW0

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


The TOL plasmid pWW0 (117 kb) is the best studied catabolic plasmid and the archetype of the IncP-9 plasmid incompatibility group from Pseudomonas . It carries the degradative (xyl) genes for toluenes and xylenes within catabolic transposons Tn4651 and Tn4653 . Analysis of the complete pWW0 nucleotide sequence revealed 148 putative open reading frames. Of these, 77 showed similarity to published sequences in the available databases predicting functions for: plasmid replication, stable maintenance and transfer; phenotypic determinants; gene regulation and expression; and transposition. All identifiable transposition functions lay within the boundaries of the 70 kb transposon Tn4653 , leaving a 46 kb sector containing all the IncP-9 core functions. The replicon and stable inheritance region was very similar to the mini-replicon from IncP-9 antibiotic resistance plasmid pM3, with their Rep proteins forming a novel group of initiation proteins. pWW0 transfer functions exist as two blocks encoding putative DNA processing and mating pair formation genes, with organizational and sequence similarity to IncW plasmids. In addition to the known Tn4651 and IS1246 elements, two additional transposable elements were identified as well as several putative transposition functions, which are probably genetic remnants from previous transposition events. Genes likely to be responsible for known resistance to ultraviolet light and free radicals were identified. Other putative phenotypic functions identified included resistance to mercury and other metal ions, as well as to quaternary ammonium compounds. The complexity and size of pWW0 is largely the result of the mosaic organization of the transposable elements that it carries, rather than the backbone functions of IncP-9 plasmids.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-871
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002