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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1999 Aug 1;177(1):63-6.

Transfer of a conjugative transposon, Tn5397 in a model oral biofilm.

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Department of Microbiology, Eastman Dental Institute for Oral Health Care Sciences, University College London, UK.


A tetracycline resistance profile was established from a microcosm dental plaque in a constant depth film fermenter. The fermenter was inoculated with a Bacillus subtilis strain which contained the conjugative transposon, Tn5397, which confers tetracycline resistance upon its host. After 6 hour and 24 hour the tetracycline resistance profile of the biofilm was redetermined and a tetracycline resistant Streptococcus species was isolated. A molecular analysis of this strain confirmed that Tn5397 was present in the genomic DNA of the isolate. These data represent the first report, to our knowledge, of intergeneric transfer of a conjugative transposon in a mixed species biofilm and demonstrates the ability of conjugative transposons to disseminate antibiotic resistance genes in a mixed species environment.

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