Genetic organization of plasmid pXF51 from the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa
The sequence of plasmid pXF51 from the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of citrus variegated chlorosis, has been analyzed. This plasmid codes for 65 open reading frames (ORFs), organized into four main regions, containing genes related to replication, mobilization, and conjugative transfer. Twenty-five ORF, have no counterparts in the public sequence databases, and 7 are similar to conserved hypothetical proteins from other bacteria. A pXF51 incompatibility group has not been determined, as we could not find a typical replication origin. One cluster of conjugation-related genes (trb) seems to be incomplete in pXF51, and a copy of this sequence is found in the chromosome, suggesting it was generated by a duplication event. A second cluster (tra) contains all genes necessary for conjugation transfer to occur, showing a conserved organization with other conjugative plasmids. An identifiable origin of transfer similar to oriT from IncP plasmids is found adjacent to genes encoding two mobilization proteins. None of die ORFs with putative assigned function could be predicted as having a role in pathogenesis, except for a virulence-associated protein D homolog. These results indicate that even though pXF51 appears not to have a direct role in Xylella pathogenesis, it is a conjugative plasmid that could be important for lateral gene transfer in this bacterium. This property may be of great importance for future development of transformation techniques in X. fastidiosa. (C) 2001 Academic Press.