1887

Abstract

We have evaluated 66 -lactamase-producing (-Lac) clinical isolates of for the presence of plasmid DNA, ability to conjugate with an type b recipient, and stability of the -Lac phenotype. Of the 66 strains, 23 (35%) contained a plasmid demonstrable by either of two methods of cleared cell lysate preparation. The molecular weight of 17 of the plasmids was approximately 30 × 10. Four strains carried a plasmid of mol.wt 3 × 10 and single strains carried plasmids of mol. wt 36 × 10 or 50 × 10. Of 23 plasmids that were unstable , 10 (43%) had molecular weights of 30 × 10 and coded only for -lactamase. Stability of the -Lac phenotype was observed in all 43 strains in which plasmid DNA was not demonstrated by physical methods. When -Lac,‘plasmid-free’ strains were conjugated with strain Eagan ( type b), ampicillin-resistant transconjugants were isolated in 21 out of 43 matings (the lower limit of detection was 10 per donor cell per 30 min mating). With few exceptions, homologous (type b × type b) crosses with -Lac, plasmid-containing donors were more efficient (frequency 10–10) than heterologous (untypable × type b) matings (frequency 10–10). -Lac,‘plasmid-free’ strains were inefficient donors (frequency 10–10) irrespective of serotype, but all transconjugants from these crosses were efficient donors (frequency 10–10) and contained a plasmid of mol. wt 30 × 10 that was unstable in 9 cases out of 26 (35%). The increase in transferability and phenotypic instability of plasmid-bearing -Lac strains reinforces the concept of a chromosomal locus for -lactamase genes in‘plasmid-free’ -Lac strains. Carriage of -lactamase genes on 30 × 10 mol. wt R plasmids aids transferability at the expense of genetic stability.

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1982-10-01
2021-08-03
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