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Microb Drug Resist. 1998 Spring;4(1):79-84.

The molecular mechanisms of tetracycline resistance in the pneumococcus.

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South African Institute for Medical Research and the University of Witwatersrand, Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Johannesburg.


Tetracycline resistance in the pneumococcus is a result of the acquisition of one of two resistance determinants, tet(M) or tet(O). These genes encode ribosomal protection proteins that have homology to the elongation factors G and Tu. Tet(M) and Tet(O) both have GTPase activity that appears to be important in the displacement of tetracycline from the ribosome. Modification of tRNA may also be important for tetracycline resistance. Transcription of tet(M) is thought to be regulated by transcriptional attenuation. Transcription of tet(O) is constitutive, however, upstream of the gene are sequences that also appear to be involved in transcriptional attenuation. tet(M) is transferred on the conjugative transposons, Tn1545 and Tn5151. It is not yet known whether tet(O) is transported on transposons or plasmids, or whether it is chromosomally integrated, in pneumococci.

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