In a single copy of Tn10 confers high-level resistance to tetracycline. Resistance itself results from expression of three distinct mechanisms which normally act together (Shales , 1980). In cells containing two copies of Tn10, the level of resistance to tetracycline was reduced. This was not due to overproduction of the repressor which controls the resistance genes, because strains diploid for an operator-constitutive allele of Tn10 also exhibited reduced expression of resistance. The negative gene dosage effect resulted from decreased expression of two mechanisms (1 and 2) consequent on enhanced expression of the third mechanism. The net result of increasing the copy number was a decrease in resistance because mechanism 3 was less efficient than mechanisms 1 and 2 in protecting the cell against tetracycline. The DNA sequence responsible for the reduced expression of resistance was contained in the internal II fragment of Tn10. This sequence, which is probably unique to Tn10, may encode the protein which mediates mechanism 3. Elevated levels of this protein probably cause decreased expression of mechanisms 1 and 2.


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