Plasmid incompatibility is defined as the inability of different plasmids to be maintained in one bacterial cell. In this Plasmids 101 post, we’ll cover why this happens, how it might affect your work, and how understanding it can be used for good.
First, why are plasmids incompatible? Plasmid incompatibility occurs when multiple plasmids within one cell have the same replicon and/or partitioning system. Let’s start with the replicon- the part of the plasmid that contains the origin of replication and the replication control machinery (Need a refresher on the Origin of Replication? See our Plasmids 101: Origin of Replication blog).