Two independent retrons with highly diverse reverse transcriptases in Myxococcus xanthus

S. Inouye, P. J. Herzer, M. Inouye

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14 Scopus citations


A reverse transcriptase (RT) was recently found in Myxococcus xanthus, a Gram-negative soil bacterium. This RT has been shown to be associated with a chromosomal region designated a retron responsible for the synthesis of a peculiar extrachromosomal DNA called msDNA (multicopy single-stranded DNA). We demonstrate that M. xanthus contains two independent, unlinked retrons, one for the synthesis of msDNA-Mx162 and the other for msDNA-Mx65. The structural analysis of the retron for msDNA-Mx65 revealed that the coding regions for msdRNA (msr) and msDNA (msd), and an open reading frame (ORF) downstream of msr are arranged in the same manner as found for the Mx162 retron. The ORF encodes a polypeptide of 427 amino acid residues. The amino-terminal domain (residues 1-138) shows no striking similarity to these proteins presently available in the data bases including the msDNA-Mx162 ORF, while the sequence from residues 139-394 can be aligned with various known RT sequences and has 47% identity with the RT domain of the msDNA-Mx162 ORF. On the basis of these findings, possible origins of two highly diverse retrons on the M. xanthus chromosome are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)942-945
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • 2',5'-phosphodiester
  • Multicopy single-stranded DNA
  • codon usage
  • myxobacteria

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