One of the unique features of actinomycetes, especially the genus Streptomyces, is the presence of linear plasmids. These range in size from 12 to 600 kb, and are often termed mega-plasmids. While many of the genes involved in secondary metabolite production reside in clusters on the chromosome, several studies have identified biosynthetic clusters on large linear plasmids that produce important secondary metabolites, including antibiotics. In this study, Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to screen 176 actinomycete isolates for the presence of plasmids; these bacterial strains were previously isolated from the Great Salt Plains of Oklahoma. Seventy-eight of the 176 actinomycete isolates (44%) contained plasmids. Several strains contained more than one plasmid, accounting for a total of 109 plasmids. Ten isolates showed extrachromosomal DNA larger than 200 kb, thus falling into the category of mega-plasmids. A subset of plasmids from 55 isolates was treated with S1 nuclease to determine topology; all plasmids examined appeared to be linear and ranged from ~55 to 400 kb. Eleven isolates were chosen for Whole Genome Next Generation Sequencing. From the 11 sequenced isolates, seven plasmids were partially assembled. While the majority of the genes identified on the plasmids coded for hypothetical proteins, others coded for general functions, stress response, and antibiotic and heavy metal resistance. Draft genome sequences of two mega-plasmid-bearing Streptomyces sp. strains, BF-3 and 4F, revealed the presence of genes involved in antibiotic production, antibiotic, and heavy metal resistance, osmoregulation, and stress response, which likely facilitate their survival in this extreme halophilic environment. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore plasmids harbored by actinomycetes isolated from the Great Salt Plains of Oklahoma.
Cornell, C. R., Marasini, D., & Fakhr, M. K. (2018). Molecular Characterization of Plasmids Harbored by Actinomycetes Isolated From the Great Salt Plains of Oklahoma Using PFGE and Next Generation Whole Genome Sequencing. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02282