In this study, a Helicobacter pylori-Escherichia coli shuttle vector was constructed for transferring DNA into H. pylori. The smallest cryptic plasmid (1.2 kb), pHP489, among those harbored by 77 H. pylori isolates was selected as a base replicon for constructing vectors. HindIII-digested pHP489 was ligated with a kanamycin resistance gene [aph(3')-III], which originated from Campylobacter jejuni, to produce the recombinant plasmid pHP489K. pHP489K was efficiently transformed into and stably maintained in H. pylori strains. The shuttle vector pBHP489K (3.6 kb) was constructed by the recombination of pHP489, ColE1, and aph(3')-III sequences. pBHP489K was reciprocally transformed into and maintained in both H. pylori and E. coli. Introduction of the shuttle vector clone DNA (pBHP489K/AB; 6.7 kb), containing the ureA and ureB genes of H. pylori, into urease-negative mutants of H. pylori led to the restoration of their urease activity. The transformants were confirmed to contain the incoming plasmid DNA. pBHP489K satisfied the requirements for an H. pylori-E. coli shuttle vector, implying that it might be a useful vector for investigating pathogenicity and restriction-modification systems of H. pylori.
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