Compatibility of Site-Specific Recombination Units between Mobile Genetic Elements

Shota Suzuki, Miki Yoshikawa, Daisuke Imamura, Kimihiro Abe, Patrick Eichenberger, Tsutomu Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Site-specific recombination (SSR) systems are employed for transfer of mobile genetic elements (MGEs), such as lysogenic phages and integrative conjugative elements (ICEs). SSR between attP/I and attB sites is mediated by an integrase (Int) and a recombination directionality factor (RDF). The genome of Bacillus subtilis 168 contains SPβ, an active prophage, skin, a defective prophage, and ICEBs1, an integrative conjugative element. Each of these MGEs harbors the classic SSR unit attL-int-rdf-attR. Here, we demonstrate that these SSR units are all compatible and can substitute for one another. Specifically, when SPβ is turned into a defective prophage by deletion of its SSR unit, introduction of the SSR unit of skin or ICE converts it back to an active prophage. We also identified closely related prophages with distinct SSR units that control developmentally regulated gene rearrangements of kamA (L-lysine 2,3-aminomutase). These results suggest that SSR units are interchangeable components of MGEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100805
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 24 2020


  • Genetics
  • Microbial Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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