Towards the integration of foreign DNA into the chromosome of Mycobacterium leprae.
Integrative plasmid vectors based on the pSAM2 system of Streptomyces ambofaciens offer great potential for the genetic analysis of Mycobacterium leprae. To assess this, the chromosomal attachment site of M. leprae, att-pSAM2, has been cloned, mapped and characterized. Nucleotide sequence analysis shows att-pSAM2 to correspond to a putative tRNA(pro) gene identical in sequence to those of S. ambofaciens and M. tuberculosis. In addition, it is shown that the genes encoding aspartate semialdehyde dehydrogenase, asd, and an anonymous protein antigen recognized by sera from leprosy patients, are linked to the M. leprae att-pSAM2 locus.