Cassette recruitment in the chromosomal Integron of Vibrio cholerae
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Integrons confer a rapid adaptation capability to bacteria. Integron integrases are able to capture and shuffle novel functions embedded in cassettes. Here, we investigated cassette recruitment in the Vibrio cholerae chromosomal integron during horizontal transfer. We demonstrated that the endogenous integrase expression is sufficiently triggered, after SOS response induction mediated by the entry of cassettes during conjugation and natural transformation, to mediate significant cassette insertions. These insertions preferentially occur at the attIA site, despite the presence of about 180 attC sites in the integron array. Thanks to the presence of a promoter in the attIA site vicinity, all these newly inserted cassettes are expressed and prone to selection. We also showed that the RecA protein is critical for cassette recruitment in the V. cholerae chromosomal integron but not in mobile integrons. Moreover, unlike the mobile integron integrases, that of V. cholerae is not active in other bacteria. Mobile integrons might have evolved from the chromosomal ones by overcoming host factors, explaining their large dissemination in bacteria and their role in antibioresistance expansion.