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Plasmid. 2005 May;53(3):218-38. Epub 2004 Dec 9.

Sequence of the 68,869 bp IncP-1alpha plasmid pTB11 from a waste-water treatment plant reveals a highly conserved backbone, a Tn402-like integron and other transposable elements.

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Fakultät für Biologie, Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Universität Bielefeld, Postfach 100131, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany.


To analyse the significance of conjugative broad-host-range IncP-1alpha plasmids for the spread of antibiotic resistance determinants in waste-water treatment plants we isolated and characterised five different IncP-1alpha plasmids from bacteria of activated sludge and the final effluents of a municipal waste-water treatment plant. These plasmids mediate resistance to ampicillin, cefaclor, cefuroxime, gentamicin, kanamycin, spectinomycin, streptomycin, tetracycline, tobramycin, and trimethoprim. The complete 68,869 bp DNA-sequence of the IncP-1alpha plasmid pTB11 was determined. The pTB11 backbone modules for replication (Rep), mating pair formation (Trb), multimer resolution (Mrs), post-segregational killing (Psk), conjugative DNA-transfer (Tra), plasmid control (Ctl), and stable maintenance and inheritance (KilA, KilE, and KilC) are highly conserved as compared to the 'Birmingham' IncP-1alpha plasmids. In contrast to the 'Birmingham' plasmids pTB11 carries an insert of a Tn402-derivative integrating a class 1 integron in the intergenic region between the multimer resolution operon parCBA and the post-segregational killing operon parDE. The integron comprises the resistance gene cassettes oxa2 (beta-lactamase), aacA4 (aminoglycoside-6'N-acetyltransferase), and aadA1 (aminoglycoside-3'-adenylyltransferase) and a complete tniABQR transposition module. Integron-specific sequences were also identified on other IncP-1alpha plasmids analysed in this work. In contrast to the 'Birmingham' plasmids the pTB11 tetracycline resistance module carries a pecM- and a pncA-like gene downstream of the tetracycline resistance gene tetA and contains an insertion of the new insertion sequence element ISTB11. The transposable elements IS21 and Tn1 which disrupted, respectively, orf7 and klcB on the 'Birmingham' plasmids are not present on pTB11. Identification of IncP-1alpha plasmids in bacteria of the waste-water treatment plant's final effluents indicates that bacteria carrying these kind of plasmids are released into the environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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