Extrachromosomal genetic elements in Micrococcus

Julián Rafael Dib, Wolfgang Liebl, Martin Wagenknecht, María Eugenia Farías, Friedhelm Meinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Micrococci are Gram-positive G + C-rich, nonmotile, nonspore-forming actinomycetous bacteria. Micrococcus comprises ten members, with Micrococcus luteus being the type species. Representatives of the genus play important roles in the biodegradation of xenobiotics, bioremediation processes, production of biotechnologically important enzymes or bioactive compounds, as test strains in biological assays for lysozyme and antibiotics, and as infective agents in immunocompromised humans. The first description of plasmids dates back approximately 28 years, when several extrachromosomal elements ranging in size from 1.5 to 30.2 kb were found in Micrococcus luteus. Up to the present, a number of circular plasmids conferring antibiotic resistance, the ability to degrade aromatic compounds, and osmotolerance are known, as well as cryptic elements with unidentified functions. Here, we review the Micrococcus extrachromosomal traits reported thus far including phages and the only quite recently described large linear extrachromosomal genetic elements, termed linear plasmids, which range in size from 75 kb (pJD12) to 110 kb (pLMA1) and which confer putative advantageous capabilities, such as antibiotic or heavy metal resistances (inferred from sequence analyses and curing experiments). The role of the extrachromosomal elements for the frequently proven ecological and biotechnological versatility of the genus will be addressed as well as their potential for the development and use as genetic tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume97
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Extrachromosomal elements
  • Linear plasmid
  • Micrococcus
  • Phage
  • Plasmid

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