The nucleotide sequence of the mercuric resistance operons of plasmid R100 and transposon Tn501: further evidence for mer genes which enhance the activity of the mercuric ion detoxification system
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The DNA sequences of the mercuric resistance determinants of plasmid R100 and transposon Tn501 distal to the gene (merA) coding for mercuric reductase have been determined. These 1.4 kilobase (kb) regions show 79% identity in their nucleotide sequence and in both sequences two common potential coding sequences have been identified. In R100, the end of the homologous sequence is disrupted by an 11.2 kb segment of DNA which encodes the sulfonamide and streptomycin resistance determinants of Tn21. This insert contains terminal inverted repeat sequences and is flanked by a 5 base pair (bp) direct repeat. The first of the common potential coding sequences is likely to be that of the merD gene. Induction experiments and mercury volatilization studies demonstrate an enhancing but non-essential role for these merA-distal coding sequences in mercury resistance and volatilization. The potential coding sequences have predicted codon usages similar to those found in other Tn501 and R100 mer genes.
Key wordsResistance-determinants Pseudomonas genes Shigella genes Plasmid evolution Homologous genes
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