Two conjugation systems associated with Streptococcus faecalis plasmid pCF10: Identification of a conjugative transposon that transfers between S. faecalis and Bacillus subtilis

P. J. Christie, R. Z. Korman, S. A. Zahler, J. C. Adsit, G. M. Dunny

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84 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tetracycline resistance plasmid pCF10 (58 kilobases [kb]) of Streptococcus faecalis possesses two separate conjugation systems. A 25-kb region of the plasmid (designated TRA) was shown previously to determine pheromone response and conjugation functions required for transfer of pCF10 between S.faecalis cells (P.J.Christie and G.M. Dunny, Plasmid 15:230-241, 1986). When S. faecalis cells were mixed with Bacillus subtilis in broth, tetracycline resistance was transferred from S. faecalis. The tetracycline-resistant B. subtilis cells contained a 16-kb region of pCF10 (distinct from TRA) that carried the tetracycline resistance determinant (Tet(r)). This Tet(r) element was found to transfer between S. faecalis and B. subtilis strains in the absence of plasmids. Genetic and molecular techniques were used to establish locations of the element at several different sites on the B. subtilis chromosome. The Tet(r) element could be transferred in filter matings from B. subtilis to S. faecalis strains and between recombination-proficient and -deficient S. faecalis strains in the absence of any plasmid DNA. The transfer required direct cell-to-cel contact and was not inhibited by DNase. The Tet(r) element was shown to transpose fromthe S. faecalis chromosome to various locations within the hemolysin plasmid pAD1. Together, the data indicate that the Tet(r) element, termed transposon Tn925, is very similar to the conjugative transposon Tn916 in both structure and function. A derivative of Tn925, containing transposon Tn917 inserted into a site ~3 kb from one end, exhibited elevated transfer frequencies and may provide a useful means for delivering Tn917 by conjugation into various gram-positive species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2529-2536
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume169
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987

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