Article

Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 213, Issue 2, pp 191-201

First online:

Site-specific recombination promotes linkage between trimethoprim- and sulfonamide resistance genes. Sequence characterization of dhfrV and sulI and a recombination active locus of Tn21

  • Lars SundströmAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University
  • , Peter RådströmAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University
  • , Göte SwedbergAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University
  • , Ola SköldAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University

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Summary

A new gene for trimethoprim resistance, dhfrV, found in several plasmid isolates with different characteristics, was sequenced and found to correspond to a peptide of 157 amino acids showing 75% similarity with the previously characterized, drug resistant dihydrofolate reductase of type I. The sequenced surroundings of dhfrV in plasmid pLMO20, were found to be almost identical with genetic areas surrounding resistance genes in transposon Tn21 and in R plasmid R388. The trimethoprim resistance genes of pLMO20 and R388 and the spectinomycin resistance gene of Tn21 could be regarded as having been inserted, by recombination, into an evolutionary older structure containg the sulfonamide resistance gene, sulI. The latter gene was sequenced and found to correspond to a peptide of 279 amino acids and with a molecular weight of 30126 daltons. The inserted genes were found to be governed by a promoter situated in the highly conserved structure and also controlling expression of sulI. The insertion points of the different resistance genes were precisely defined, and at the 3′ ends of the inserted genes inverted repeats allowing the formation of stem and loop structures were found. Similar structures were found at the 3′ ends of the antibiotic resistance genes in Tn7, which could indicate similar recombination mechanisms to be effective in the evolutionary construction of all these different resistance elements.

Key words

Trimethoprim resistance Sulfonamide resistance Tn21 Tn7 Site-specific recombination