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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Sep;69(9):5336-42.

Similarity of tetracycline resistance genes isolated from fish farm bacteria to those from clinical isolates.

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Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, Tsurumai, Showa-ku, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.


Tetracycline-resistant (Tet(r)) bacteria were isolated from fishes collected at three different fish farms in the southern part of Japan in August and September 2000. Of the 66 Tet(r) gram-negative strains, 29 were identified as carrying tetB only. Four carried tetY, and another four carried tetD. Three strains carried tetC, two strains carried tetB and tetY, and one strain carried tetC and tetG. Sequence analyses indicated the identity in Tet(r) genes between the fish farm bacteria and clinical bacteria: 99.3 to 99.9% for tetB, 98.2 to 100% for tetC, 99.7 to 100% for tetD, 92.0 to 96.2% for tetG, and 97.1 to 100% for tetY. Eleven of the Tet(r) strains transferred Tet(r) genes by conjugation to Escherichia coli HB-101. All transconjugants were resistant to tetracycline, oxycycline, doxycycline, and minocycline. The donors included strains of Photobacterium, Vibrio, Pseudomonas, Alteromonas, Citrobacter, and Salmonella spp., and they transferred tetB, tetY, or tetD to the recipients. Because NaCl enhanced their growth, these Tet(r) strains, except for the Pseudomonas, Citrobacter, and Salmonella strains, were recognized as marine bacteria. Our results suggest that tet genes from fish farm bacteria have the same origins as those from clinical strains.

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