Integrative conjugative elements (ICEs) are a class of self-transmissible mobile elements that mediate horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, and play an important role in bacterial evolution. Since 1992, ICEs of the SXT/R391 family have been found to be widely distributed among Vibrio cholerae strains isolated in Asian countries. Here we describe ICEVchB33, an ICE found in the genomes of two V. cholerae O1 Eltor strains, one isolated in India, 1994, and the other from Mozambique, 2004. ICEVchB33 revealed a new genetic organization, different from other ICEs of the SXT/R391 family, demonstrating the genomic plasticity of these elements. © 2009 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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