Integrons: mobilizable platforms that promote genetic diversity in bacteria

Yan Boucher*, Maurizio Labbate, Jeremy E. Koenig, H. W. Stokes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Integrons facilitate the capture of potentially adaptive exogenous genetic material by their host genomes. It is now clear that integrons are not limited to the clinical contexts in which they were originally discovered because ∼10% of bacterial genomes that have been partially or completely sequenced harbour this genetic element. This wealth of sequence information has revealed that integrons are not only much more phylogenetically diverse than previously thought but also more mobilizable, with many integrons having been subjected to frequent lateral gene transfer throughout their evolutionary history. This indicates that the genetic characteristics that make integrons such efficient vectors for the spread of antibiotic resistance genes have been associated with these elements since their earliest origins. Here, we give an overview of the structural and phylogenetic diversity of integrons and describe evolutionary events that have contributed to the success of these genetic elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Volume15
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

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