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J Bacteriol. Jan 1977; 129(1): 237–245.
PMCID: PMC234920

Mutations in Prophage [var phi]11 That Impair the Transducibility of Their Staphylococcus aureus Lysogens for Methicillin Resistance


Methicillin resistance (mec) is not transduced into Staphylococcus aureus 8325-4, but is transduced into this host after it has been lysogenized with phage [var phi]11 and has acquired the penicillinase plasmid pI524 by a separate transduction (Cohen and Sweeney, 1970, 1973). Strain 8325-4 is competent for transformation of typical plasmid or chromosomal markers and for mec only if it is lysogenic for [var phi]11 or a related prophage (Sjöström et al., 1974, 1975). A mutant strain of [var phi]11 that was temperature sensitive (Ts) for vegetative multiplication did not mediate competence for transformation of its 8325-4 lysogen if the lysogen had been grown at a nonpermissive temperature (Sjöström and Philipson, 1974). We isolated four Ts mutants of [var phi]11 that did not mediate transducibility of their 8325-4(pI524) lysogens for mec after growth at nonpermissive temperatures (40 to 42°C). Transduction of typical plasmid or chromosomal markers was not affected. These [var phi]11-Ts mutants mediated normal competence of their lysogens for transformation of a tetracycline resistance plasmid. Similarly, [var phi]11-Ts mutants that rendered their lysogens temperature sensitive for transformation did not depress the frequency of transduction of mec. These two types of [var phi]11-Ts mutants fell into two different genetic complementation groups that differed in the physiology of deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis and in the time of expression of the mutations during a single-burst growth cycle at a nonpermissive temperature. A virulent mutant of [var phi]11, which plaqued with 100% efficiency on 8325([var phi]11), also failed to condition strain 8325-4 for transducibility of mec but retained the ability to confer competence for transformation of a tetracycline resistance plasmid. Different genetic loci and physiological functions are involved in [var phi]11 mutations that affect transducibility of mec and those that affect competence for transformation of markers generally in S. aureus 8325-4.

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Selected References

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