Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Genome Watch

Breaking the ICE

Abstract

Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) are being identified in increasing numbers. Although some of the elements now classified as ICEs were discovered a long time ago, such as pSAM2 (1984) and Tn916 (1995), the similarities between these elements have only recently been recognized. ICEs can allow bacteria to survive in new environments and acquire virulence factors, and can have profound effects on the bacterial genome.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Model of the life cycle of an integrative and conjugative element (ICE).

References

  1. 1

    Burrus, V., Pavlovic, G., Decaris, B. & Guédon, G. Conjugative transposons: the tip of the iceberg. Mol. Microbiol. 46, 601–610 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Lin, T. L., Lee, C.-Z., Hsieh, P.-F., Tsai, S.-F. & Wang, J.-T. Characterization of integrative and conjugative element ICEKp1-associated genomic heterogeneity in a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain isolated from a primary liver abscess. J. Bacteriol. 190, 515–526 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Mavrodi, D. V., Loper, J. E., Paulsen, I. T. & Thomashow, L. S. Mobile genetic elements in the genome of the beneficial rhizobacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5. BMC Microbiol. 13, 8 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Taviani, E. et al. Environmental Vibrio spp., isolated in Mozambique, contain a polymorphic group of integrative conjugative elements and class 1 integrons. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 64, 45–54 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Osorio, C. R. et al. Genomic and functional analysis of ICEPdaSpa1, a fish-pathogen-derived SXT-related integrating conjugative element that can mobilize a virulence plasmid. J. Bacteriol. 190, 3353–3361 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    te Poele, E. M. et al. Actinomycete integrative and conjugative pMEA-like elements of Amycolatopsis and Saccharopolyspora decoded. Plasmid 59, 202–216 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Croucher, N. J. et al. Role of conjugative elements in the evolution of the multidrug-resistant pandemic clone Streptococcus pneumoniae Spain23F ST81. J. Bacteriol. 19, 1480–1489 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Holden, M. T. G. et al. Genomic evidence for the evolution of Streptococcus equi: host restriction, increased virulence and genetic exchange with human pathogens. PLoS Pathog. 5, e1000346 (2009).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Pavlovic G., Burrus, V., Gintz, B., Decaris, B. & Guédon, G. Evolution of genomic islands by deletion and tandem accretion by site-specific recombination: ICESt1-related elements from Streptococcus thermophilus. Microbiology 150, 759–774 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Brochet, M. et al. Shaping a bacterial genome by large chromosomal replacements, the evolutionary history of Streptococcus agalactiae. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 15961–15966 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Nakayama, K. et al. The whole-genome sequencing of the obligate intracellular bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi revealed massive gene amplification during reductive genome evolution. DNA Res. 15, 185–199 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Related links

Related links

DATABASES

Entrez Genome Project

Escherichia coli

Klebsiella pneumoniae

Lactococcus lactis

Orientia tsutsugamushi

Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5

Streptococcus agalactiae

Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus

Streptococcus thermophilus

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Seth-Smith, H., Croucher, N. Breaking the ICE. Nat Rev Microbiol 7, 328–329 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro2137

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing