The conjugative plasmid pCF-10 (58 kb) of Streptococcus faecalis has been mapped with restriction enzymes. By restriction mapping and Southern hybridization analysis, a 16-kb segment of the plasmid was shown to resemble closely the conjugative tetracycline resistance transposon, Tn916. Mutagenesis of the plasmid with the erythromycin resistance transposon Tn917 was used to localize a tetracycline resistance determinant and several regions involved in conjugal transfer. Fifty Tn917 insertions (outside the region of the plasmid homologous to Tn916) affecting mating behavior and the ability of donor cells to respond to the sex pheromone cCF-10 were mapped to nine distinct segments, or tra regions. Insertions into tra regions 1-3 and 7-9 led to an enhanced transfer ability of mutant plasmids relative to the transfer frequency obtained for the wild-type plasmid. Cells carrying these mutant plasmids differed in colony morphology or growth in broth culture from cells carrying pCF-10. Insertions into tra regions 4-6 resulted in reduced plasmid transfer, or completely eliminated the mating potential of donor cells. Insertions generating transfer-defective plasmids could be grouped further according to the ability of strains harboring the mutant plasmids to respond to cCF-10. HindIII fragments of pCF-10 coding for transfer functions have been cloned into Escherichia coli.
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We thank M. C. Gawron-Burke, D. Clewell, and M. Smith for strains and sharing of unpublished data. Jean Adsit, Grace Soong, and Susan Reinhart provided excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by U.S. Public Health Service Grant AI-193 10 from the National Institutes of Health.