pED806 , a pBR322 derivative carrying the origin of transfer ( oriT ) of F, was rapidly lost from cells carrying an F tra+ plasmid. Instability was increased in a RecA- host, and depended in particular upon the Ftra YZ genes that produce the nick at oriT at which transfer is initiated. Instability was also correlated with the orientation of the oriT fragment in the vector plasmid. Mutants of pED806 selected as being stable in the presence of Flac proved to carry cis-dominant oriT mutations. The oriT site was subcloned from pED806 on a HaeII fragment including a HaeII-Bg/II segment of F DNA approximately 385 base pair (bp) long into the 2.25 kilobase (kb) vector plasmid pED825 , giving pED822 . pED822 was fully proficient for oriT function, and recircularised in recipient cells by a recA- and tra-independent oriT -specific ligation/recombination event. ' Phasmids ' constructed by cloning pED806 or an oriT - mutant into a lambda vector were used to confirm that the nick site in lambda oriT phages grown in the presence of Flac tra+ is indeed at oriT . The nick site in a further lambda oriT phage (ED lambda 102) was then located 140 +/- 20 bp from the Bg/II site forming one terminus of the F fragment cloned in pED806 and pED822 .
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