Resistance to gentamicin, tobramycin and kanamycin (GmTmKm) in strains of isolated from clinical sources in Australia is mediated by a 4·7 kb transposable element, designated Tn. A 2·5 kb III fragment which maps symmetrically within Tn, and encompasses the aminoglycosideresistance coding region, has been shown to hybridise with fragments of identical size in III digests of three different GmTmKm plasmids, two of which were self-transmissible, from strains of isolated in the USA. Examination by electronmicroscopy of self-annealed molecules of the North American GmTmKm plasmids revealed the presence of stem and loop structures similar to those produced by Tn, but with shorter inverted repeats. These results suggest that GmTmKm in strains of isolated in the USA is, or once was, transposable, and that transposable elements analogous to Tn may be found in isolates of GmTmKm worldwide.


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