The plasmid vectors described in this report are derived from the broad host range RK2 replicon and can be maintained in many gram negative bacterial species. The complete nucleotide sequences of all of the cloning and expression vectors are known. Important characteristics of the cloning vectors are as follows: a size range of 4.8 to 7.1 kb, unique cloning sites, different antibiotic resistance markers for selection of plasmid containing cells, oriT mediated conjugative plasmid transfer, plasmid stabilization functions, and a means for a simple method for modification of plasmid copy number. Expression vectors were constructed by insertion of the inducible Pu or Pm promoter together with its regulatory gene xy/R or xy/S, respectively, from the TOL plasmid of Pseudomonas putida. One of these vectors was used in an analysis of the correlation between phosphoglucomutase activity and amylose accumulation in Escherichia coli. The experiments showed that amylose synthesis was only marginally affected by the level of basal expression from the Pm promoter of the Acetobacter xylinum phosphoglucomutase gene (celB). In contrast, amylose accumulation was strongly reduced when transcription from Pm was induced. CelB was also expressed with a very high induction ratio in Xanthomonas campestris. These experiments showed that the A. xylinum celB gene could not complement the role of the bifunctional X. campestris phosphoglucomutase phosphomannomutase gene in xanthan biosynthesis. We believe that the vectors described here are useful for cloning experiments, gene expression, and physiological studies with a wide range of bacteria and presumably also for analysis of gene transfer in the environment.
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