A series of 178 strains of , highly resistant to trimethoprim, isolated from hospital patients and patients in the community between 1979 and 1983, was examined for the presence of Tn7 on a plasmid or on the chromosome only, by transposition to RP4 and restriction endonuclease digestion with d III. Of the isolates, 57% carried Tn7. Comparison of hospital isolates from 1979 to 1980 and 1982 showed that although the proportions that carried Tn7 were similar (63% and 57%) there had been a significant change in the genetic location of the transposon. The proportion of plasmid-mediated Tn7 had fallen from 62% to 30% with a corresponding rise in Tn7 located exclusively on the chromosome from 38% to 70%. This change may be the result of continuing transposition of Tn7 from plasmids to the bacterial chromosome followed by plasmid loss. The consequent reduction in the mobility of trimethoprim-resistance genes may in turn lead to changes in the incidence of resistance.


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