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Arch Microbiol. 1995 Apr;163(4):242-7.

Organomercurial resistance determinants in Pseudomonas K-62 are present on two plasmids.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University, Osaka, Japan.


Pseudomonas strain K-62 was found to contain six plasmids. A mutant derivative cured of the 26-kb plasmid showed a higher sensitivity to mercurials; however, the strain was still able to volatilize them. Loss of the 68-kb plasmid in addition to the 26-kb plasmid abolished the ability of mercury volatilization in this strain and led to a further decrease in the level of mercurial resistance. These results are the first to demonstrate that the organomercurial resistance of Pseudomonas strain K-62 is plasmid-based, and that both the 26- and 68-kb plasmids are required for full expression of the mercurial resistance. Probes specific for the mer genes merA, merB, and merR strongly hybridized with the 26-kb plasmid, but not with the 68-kb plasmid. Two fragments of the 26-kb plasmid that hybridized with the mer genes were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. One recombinant plasmid (pMRA17) inducibly encoded a typical broad-spectrum mercurial resistance, whereas the other recombinant plasmid (pMRB01) constitutively conferred hypersensitivity to phenylmercury in the absence of mercuric reductase activity. The results suggest that the two organomercurial lyases in the cells are transcribed from different operator-promoters.

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