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J Microbiol Methods. 2010 Jan;80(1):25-43. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2009.10.012. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

A classification system for plasmids from enterococci and other Gram-positive bacteria.

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National Food Institute, DTU, Division of Microbiology and Risk Assessment, Bülowsvej 27, DK-1790 Copenhagen V, Denmark.


A classification system for plasmids isolated from enterococci and other Gram-positive bacteria was developed based on 111 published plasmid sequences from enterococci and other Gram-positive bacteria; mostly staphylococci. Based on PCR amplification of conserved areas of the replication initiating genes (rep), alignment of these sequences and using a cutoff value of 80% identity on both protein and DNA level, 19 replicon families (rep-families) were defined together with several unique sequences. The prevalence of these rep-families was tested on 79 enterococcal isolates from a collection of isolates of animal and human origin. Difference in prevalence of the designed rep-families were detected with rep(9) being most prevalent in Enterococcus faecalis and rep(2) in Enterococcus faecium. In 33% of the tested E. faecium and 32% of the tested E. faecalis no positive amplicons were detected. Furthermore, conjugation experiments were performed obtaining 30 transconjugants when selecting for antimicrobial resistance. Among them 19 gave no positive amplicons indicating presence of rep-families not tested for in this experimental setup.

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