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Mol Gen Genet. 1991 Aug;228(1-2):294-9.

Novel mercury resistance determinants carried by IncJ plasmids pMERPH and R391.

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Department of Genetics and Microbiology, University of Liverpool, UK.


HgCl2 resistance (Hgr) in a strain of Pseudomonas putrefaciens isolated from the River Mersey was identified as plasmid-borne by its transfer to Escherichia coli in conjugative matings. This plasmid, pMERPH, could not be isolated and was incompatible with the chromosomally integrated IncJ Hgr plasmid R391. pMERPH and R391 both express inducible, narrow-spectrum mercury resistance and detoxify HgCl2 by volatilization. The cloned mer determinants from pMERPH (pSP100) and R391 (pSP200) have very similar restriction maps and express identical polypeptide products. However, these features show distinct differences from those of the Tn501 family of mer determinants. pSP100 and pSP200 failed to hybridize at moderate stringency to merRTPA and merC probes from Tn501 and Tn21, respectively. We conclude that the IncJ mer determinants are only distantly related to that from Tn501 and its closely homologous relatives and that it identifies a novel sequence which is relatively rare in bacteria isolated from natural environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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