An integron is a two-part genetic system found in bacteria, and maybe more widely. It is the way antibiotic resistance is passed on so rapidly. It is found in plasmids, chromosomes and transposons. Although the first function discovered was antibiotic resistance, other bacterial functions (traits) can be transferred by integrons.
The first component consists of a gene which codes for an enzyme which captures the small mobile elements known as gene cassettes. The second is a site on the genome where the cassettes are inserted, and a promoter which drives expression of cassette-associated genes. "Integron" describes such structures both when no cassettes are present and when there are integrated cassettes. Cassettes can be inserted at the site, they can be cut out, and they can undergo horizontal gene transfer.
References[change | change source]
- Hall R.M. & Collis C.M. 1995. Mobile gene cassettes and integrons: capture and spread of genes by site-specific recombination. Mol Microbiol 15, 593–600. 
Further reading[change | change source]
- Hall R.M. 2002. Integrons. In Encyclopedia of Genetics, S. Brenner & J.H. Miller (eds), vol 2. London: Academic Press.
- Hall R.M. 2002. Gene cassettes and integrons; moving single genes. In Horizontal Gene Transfer, pp. 19–28. M. Syvanan & C. Kado (eds). London: Harcourt.
- Recchia G.D. & Hall R.M. 1995. Gene cassettes: a new class of mobile element. Microbiology 141, 3015–3027. FREE Full Text