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J Ultrastruct Mol Struct Res. 1988 Apr;99(1):18-26.

Structure and location of tellurium deposited in Escherichia coli cells harbouring tellurite resistance plasmids.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


The plasmids RP4Ter and pHH1508a, which belong to the P and HII incompatibility groups, respectively, confer resistance to potassium tellurite (K2TeO3) on Escherichia coli. The genes for tellurite resistance were cloned from each plasmid onto the vector pUC8 to create pDT1366 and pD1364, respectively. Unstained, unfixed bacteria carrying these plasmids contained black intracellular deposits when grown on media containing tellurite. Thin sections of these bacteria fixed with glutaraldehyde were prepared and examined by electron microscopy. The black deposits were located inside the cell and were frequently associated with the inner membrane of the bacterium. Bacteria containing pDT1366 or pDT1364, and therefore a higher gene dosage of the Ter determinant, contained more black deposits, but had a decreased resistance, as measured by the minimum inhibitory concentration using the agar dilution method. Using the technique of electron spectroscopic imaging, the black intracellular deposits were shown to contain predominantly reduced metallic tellurium, and significant amounts of oxygen or carbon, thereby confirming earlier results using X-ray diffraction analysis of whole cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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