The virulence plasmid pJM1 enables the fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum, a gram-negative polarly flagellated comma-shaped rod bacterium, to cause a highly fatal hemorrhagic septicemic disease in salmonids and other fishes, leading to epizootics throughout the world. The pJM1 plasmid 65,009-nucleotide sequence, with an overall G+C content of 42.6%, revealed genes and open reading frames (ORFs) encoding iron transporters, nonribosomal peptide enzymes, and other proteins essential for the biosynthesis of the siderophore anguibactin. Of the 59 ORFs, approximately 32% were related to iron metabolic functions. The plasmid pJM1 confers on V. anguillarum the ability to take up ferric iron as a complex with anguibactin from a medium in which iron is chelated by transferrin, ethylenediamine-di(o-hydroxyphenyl-acetic acid), or other iron-chelating compounds. The fatDCBA-angRT operon as well as other downstream biosynthetic genes is bracketed by the homologous ISV-A1 and ISV-A2 insertion sequences. Other clusters on the plasmid also show an insertion element-flanked organization, including ORFs homologous to genes involved in the biosynthesis of 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid. Homologues of replication and partition genes are also identified on pJM1 adjacent to this region. ORFs with no known function represent approximately 30% of the pJM1 sequence. The insertion sequence elements in the composite transposon-like structures, corroborated by the G+C content of the pJM1 sequence, suggest a modular composition of plasmid pJM1, biased towards acquisition of modules containing genes related to iron metabolic functions. We also show that there is considerable microheterogeneity in pJM1-like plasmids from virulent strains of V. anguillarum isolated from different geographical sources.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology